Tribology of wheel/rail contact

Rail transportation

Tribology reasearch of wheel/rail contact plays a vital role in the maintenance of rail infrastructure. The main aim of our research is to extend the understanding of lubrication, friction and wear in wheel/rail contacts. Results are used for development of systems for in-contact friction modification. Friction may be modified by means of sanding, wheel flange lubrication, and application of substances for top-of-rail friction modification. These systems improve rail transportation and reduce its negative effects.

Research characteristics

Conditions in wheel/rail contact significantly affect transfer of forces between the rail vehicle and the railway track. Understanding of wheel/rail contact tribology directly affects safety, energy consumption, operating expenses, and negative impacts of rail transportation. We conduct experimental research about the effect of operational conditions on friction, wear and noise. Experimental equipment consists of universal tribometers, wheel/rail contact simulator with real geometry and twin disc device with variable model scale. Our research activities focus mainly on sanding, wheel flange lubrication and top-of-rail friction modification. Fundamental reserch is also important for us as we aim to extend the knowledge in this field.

Laboratory equipment

  • wheel/rail contact simulator with real geometry
  • twin disc experimental device
  • universal tribometer Bruker UMT Tribolab
  • universal tribometer Rtec Instruments MFT
  • ball-on-disc tribometer for friction (traction) measurement PCS Instruments MTM2
  • optical profiler Bruker Contour GT X8

COntact person