In recent decades, there has been a considerable effort in improving railroad vehicle dynamic performance. This involves high operational speed with stable behavior, better curving performance, better ride quality, and increased life of the wheel and rail profiles. To achieve this goal, the use of independently rotating wheels (IRW) is proposed as one potential option. Using IRW either partially or totally decouples the pitch rotation of the two wheels of the “wheelset”, thereby reducing or eliminating the longitudinal creepage and thus wheelset hunting motion. On the other hand, the longitudinal creepage is no longer available to provide steering assistance in curves, and continuous flange contact during curving is expected. However, by judicious choice of wheel profile and careful truck design, the lateral force between wheel and rail during curving can be reduced, decreasing the wear on both the wheel and rail profiles. Therefore, such solution is assumed to achieve higher stable operational speed and improved curving behavior. In this paper, the effect of using IRW on railroad vehicle performance is examined. The equations of motion of a single wheelset model and a suspended wheelset model that use IRW are presented and compared with those for similar models that use a rigid wheelset. Using a newly developed general multibody code, a complete vehicle model that uses IRW is examined and compared with one that uses rigid wheelsets. The effect of the IRW system on vehicle dynamic performance is quantitatively presented. In addition, the ability of the contact formulations used in this multibody code for modeling the IRW system is confirmed.

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