Analytical and Finite Element Analysis of Rail Deflection and Bending Stress Under Different Sleeper Spacing

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Addis Ababa University


The amount of wheel load that distributed through each sleeper depends on the track bed quality, sleeper type and sleeper space. The relationship between applied loads, track stresses, and track deformations are factors to be considered in proper track design and maintenance. Any defects and changes in track components will produce defects in rails in turn. Among these results rails bending stress, rails deflection and rails support loads are from the most parameters to be considered during the design of rail track. This research has investigated the effects of sleeper spacing, particularly the rails deflection, the induced rail bending stresses and the rail supporting force under several concentrated (Wheel) moving loads and single wheel load. Finite element method model and beam on elastic foundation (BOEF) track model have been used to get numerical and analytical solutions respectively. The Finite element method analysis was carried out in ANSYS work bench. Results from both analyses were analyzed by quantitative approach and compared together. Train axle arrangements and wheel static load have been taken from rolling stock proposed for Sabata- Mieso-Djibute Line which is identified as “HXD1C high power AC drive six-axle (7200kw) freight electric locomotive”. The Analysis shows numerical analysis gives higher values of rail deflection; lower values of rail supporting force and rail bending stress than analytical analysis. On the other hand the analytical analysis shows that multiple wheel loads gives higher values of rail deflection and rail supporting force but lower values of rail bending stress than single wheel load while numerical analysis shows single wheel load gives higher values (rail deflection, rail supporting force and rail bending stress) than multiple wheel loads. This one occurred due to the fact that the effect of one axle load gives positive value while the other gives negative values. The summation of the positive and negative values will be lower than the single positive value obtained from single wheel load. The differences of these values depend on the sleeper space and rail track bed quality.



Rail deflection, Rail bending stress, Rail supporting force, Sleeper space, Beam on elastic foundation (BOEF), Finite element method (FEM)