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Rail-Wheel Squeal Noise


The intense, high-pitched squeal noise generated by tram and metro vehicles transversing narrow curves irritates passengers as well as inhabitants. This is one of the most important problems the urban rail transport authorities are faced with. This high frequency squeal noise is due to non linear stick slip (creepage) forces between railway wheel and rail. The lateral sticking and slipping causes vibrations in the wheel to increase until a stable amplitude is reached. Damped and resilient wheels are sometimes used to reduce squeal noise. To reduce wheel rail squeal noise with measures at the level of the track, rail lubrication (or flange lubrication) are used. These solutions are very unfriendly for the environment. A more promising method consists in introducing lateral damping in the wheel-rail system. The intended research project aims at developing rail fastening principles which yield enough lateral damping to prevent squeal generation. To achieve this, a good knowledge of the squeal generation mechanisms is required. A model for wheel-rail squealing noise will be established and validated. Parameter studies will show the sensitivity of the sound power against changes in the parameter values. In this way, minimum lateral damping values for the rail fasteners will be determined in function of all other variables (curve radius, speed, wheel geometry ...). Specific rail fasteners for curves will be developed and installed on an in situ test track. Noise and vibration measurements will be carried out to compare with modelling results. The general aim is to be able to predict the generation of squeal noise and to have efficient rail fastening principles to solve this problem.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


Alfa Products & Technologies NV
3000 Leuven