The effect of track irregularities on the initiation and evolution of rail corrugation due to cyclic plastic deformation is investigated through a numerical method. The track irregularities studied in the analysis include an isolated irregularity (such as rail joint, scratch, squat) and periodically varying running surface of the rail. In the numerical method, the Hertz contact theory, an elastic-plastic finite element model and a vertical dynamics model for the railway vehicle coupled with the track are considered. An advanced cyclic plasticity model is used for the deformation analysis. The combined influences of the plastic deformation and the vertical coupling dynamics of the car and the track are taken into account in the corrugation development. The residual stresses and strains below the trough and crest of corrugation are obtained. The numerical results indicate that: (1) when a vehicle runs on rails with an isolated irregularity the contact vibration between the wheel and rail occurs at a large amplitude, and rail corrugation due to plastic deformation can be easily initiated and developed; (2) the passing frequencies of the plastic deformation induced rail corrugation are the same as the natural frequencies of the track; (3) the corrugation caused by the isolated irregularity and the periodically varying rail profile has a tendency to move along the running direction and its evolution rate decays with an increase in the wheelset passage; and, (4) the residual stresses stabilize after a limited number of rolling passes, and the residual strains increase at a reduced rate with increasing wheelset passages.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.