A frictional contact finite element for wheel/rail dynamic simulations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The main purpose of this paper is to develop a simple-model moving wheel/rail contact element, so that the sticking, sliding, and separation modes of the wheel/rail contact can be appropriately simulated. In the proposed finite element, the wheel and rail are simulated using the cubic-spline contact element, and a power function normal stiffness and a constant horizontal stiffness are connected to the cubic-spline contact stiffness. The three-dimensional (3D) contact finite element analysis for a realistic wheel and rail was used to accurately model the wheel/rail contact stiffness. The validated examples show that the proposed nonlinear moving wheel element can simulate the complicated sliding, sticking, and separation contact problems with good accuracy. The complicated contact modes, including the multiple contact situation between wheel flange and rail side, can also be simulated accurately. Moreover, the computer memory and CPU time required to achieve this are much less than needed with the 3D finite element contact model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-374
Number of pages10
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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