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Engineering research centre

Re-adhesion control for AC traction systems

PhD project, 2003-2006; supervisor – Professor T X Mei

Wheel slip is a difficult problem in traction control systems which occurs when applied tractive effort exceeds the level of maximum adhesion (friction) available at the wheel-rail interface, e.g. in poor weather conditions or with contaminated tracks. Apart from the potential impact on normal operations of a rail network, the wheel slip/slide causes undesirable wear to both wheel/track surfaces and increases the cost of maintenance. Most conventional wheel slip protection (or re-adhesion control) schemes detect and control the slip ratio (relative speed between a wheel and the train) to be below a pre-tuned limit and in more extremely cases to control the wheel rotational acceleration below a threshold as an additional measure, but there are a number of known performance constraints.

This project investigates a novel mechatronic solution for the slip detection and re-adhesion control of traction systems in railway vehicles, which explores the changes in dynamic behaviour of railway wheelsets as an indirect indicator of contact conditions. The proposed approach offers a simple and effective method to maximise the use of adhesion available at the wheel-rail contact interface which is essential for the safe and reliable railway operations.

The project is funded by UK ORS Award and Tetley & Lipton award.