Title: Laboratory simulation of low-adhesion leaf film on rail steel

Authors: Gordana Vasic, Francis J. Franklin, Ajay Kapoor, Vojkan Lucanin

Addresses: School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Stephenson Building, Claremont Road, NE1 7RU, UK. ' School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Stephenson Building, Claremont Road, NE1 7RU, UK. ' Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC3122, Australia. ' Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Kraljice Marije 16, 11120 Belgrade, Serbia

Abstract: Low-adhesion (i.e., low-friction) problems continue to plague the modern railway, particularly in autumn when leaves on the line and damp conditions combine to form a low-adhesion contaminant film on the railhead. Sudden drops in adhesion can cause havoc with timetables, and can lead to accidents, electrical insulation by contaminants can cause problems with track circuitry. Using laboratory twin-disk testing, a number of techniques for reproducing the leaf-film have been tried, and the adhesion behaviour of the resultant contaminant films is investigated. Misty conditions are found to be the best for producing low-adhesion leaf films.

Keywords: low adhesion; wheel–rail contact; twin-disk tests; leaf contamination; leaves on the line; low friction; railways; railhead contamination; leaf film; contaminant films; rail accidents; train delays.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSURFSE.2008.018970

International Journal of Surface Science and Engineering, 2008 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.84 - 97

Published online: 26 Jun 2008 *

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