TU Delft
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2016/2017 Civil Engineering and Geosciences Master Civiele Techniek
Wheel-Rail Interface
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Dr.ir.Z.Qian    Z.Qian@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Course Contents
This course is designed and mainly offered to Master students and PhD students. It consists of theoretical lectures and practical computer exercises. We will start with the everyday observations in the railway system, and figure out where the wheel-rail interface is and why it is so important. Then we will discuss the scientific governing rules behind our observations. The knowledge is well summarized in the subject contact mechanics. We will address the basics there, as well as some advanced topics. After gaining sufficient scientific background, we can then apply them to engineering practice, to explain what is happening in real life. We will discuss various engineering challenges and the way to work out solutions. Upon finishing all the theoretical lectures, we will have computer models demonstration and tutorial. The assignment will be given and completed on computers. Two guest speakers will be invited. One is from industry, and the other is from academia. They will talk about the industrial needs and the advances in scientific research on wheel-rail interface. This course will end with a symposium. You will do a presentation there and have a comprehensive discussion.
Study Goals
After completing the course successfully, a student should be able to
• Determine normal and tangential contact stresses and strains, contact patch and its division of sticking and micro-slip zones;
• Differentiate the Hertz model, the Kalker’s model and the FE model;
• Judge various rail defects and damages due to wear and rolling contact fatigue;
• Provide maintenance strategies to extend the service life of rail;
• Create a computational model to solve static and rolling contact problems respectively
Education Method
Lectures (blended learning style), practical computer exercises, assignments, guest lectures, symposium/presentations
• Group assignments, including computer modeling exercises, report and presentation (50%)
• Individual oral or written exam (50%)
• Pre- and post-lecture questions (bonus max 1 point)
This course is open for both Master students and PhD students.
Numeric Methods
Rail & Road Engineering / Planning
Expected prior Knowledge
Basic knowledge in mechanics, such as taught in the courses CTB1110 or CIE4145-09
Academic Skills
Logical thinking, Numerical modelling, Scientific reporting (written and oral)
Literature & Study Materials
• K.L. Johnson, Contact Mechanics, textbook (available on Blackboard)
• Valentin L. Popov, Contact Mechanics and Friction: Physical Principles and Applications, textbook (available on Blackboard)
• J.J. Kalker, Three-dimensional Elastic Bodies in Rolling Contact, textbook (available on Blackboard)
• Saurabh Kumar, Study of Rail Breaks: Associated Risks and Maintenance Strategies, technical report (available on Blackboard)
• D.A. Spence, The Hertz contact problem with finite friction, scientific article (available on Blackboard)
• J.J. Kalker, A Fast Algorithm for the Simplified Theory of Rolling Contact, scientific article (available on Blackboard)
Your performance will be judged based on your pre-, during- and post-lecture activities, report and presentation for the assignments, and oral or written exam.
Permitted Materials during Exam