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Differential wear and plastic deformation as causes of squat at track local stiffness change combined with other track short defects

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Squats have become a major problem in the track of many railways. In the quest for the root causes of squats, it is observed that they are occasionally found at locations of track stiffness changes such as at fish-plated insulated joints and at switches and crossings. Obviously, there should be other factors in the track, which, together with the stiffness change, have played important roles otherwise there will be squats at all such locations. A validated hybrid multibody-finite element model of vehicle-track vertical interaction is extended to simulate the frictional dynamic rolling contact at a fish-plated insulated joint in order to identify such factors. Elastic-plastic rail material property is taken into account. It is found that it is track short defect in the preload condition of the bolts and the contact between the fishplates and the rail head, which together with the stiffness change, causes large normal and longitudinal contact force variation at the fishplate end so that differential wear and differential plastic deformation may accumulate at a fixed location. With proper wavelength, the accumulated rail top geometry deviation may grow into a squat. The significance of the present work lies in that other track short defects such as damaged and improper railpads and fastening, and ballast voids may also have such effects, which may be responsible for a large portion of the many squats in the tracks. This gives the direction for further work.

Keywords: differential plastic deformation; differential wear; rolling contact; squat; vehicle-track interaction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Section of Road and Railway Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands 2: Infra Management Railsystems, Department of Civil Technology, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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