Quantitative Evaluation of Effect of Top of Rail Friction Modifiers on Reducing Wheel and Rail Wear

Top-of-Rail Friction Modifiers (TORFM) behave as a third body layer in between the wheel and rail and is applied to reduce wheel and rail wear while preserving a stable traction condition. An added benefit of TORFM is that it is estimated that it can reduce fuel consumption by controlling friction, although the research team is not aware of any proven data in support of this. Although widely used by the U.S. Class I railroads, there exists no proven method for determining, qualitatively or quantitatively, how the amount of TORFM and rail/wheel wear are related. Simply put, would increasing TORFM amount by a factor of two reduce wheel/rail wear and damage by one-half? How would such doubling effect traction or the longevity of TORFM on the wheel/rail surface? In this study, the VT-FRA roller rig is used to perform a series of tests under highly controlled conditions to shed more light on answering these questions. A series of controlled experiments are designed and performed in order to investigate the potential factors that may influence the traction performance. The wheel surface profile is measured by a high-precision, 3D, laser profiler to measure the progression of wheel wear for the duration of the experiments. The results indicate that it takes as much as 50% to 70% longer time for the traction force (traction coefficient) to reach a condition that is the same as the unlubricated rail when compared between lightly-, moderately-, and heavily-lubricated conditions. The results further indicate that wear generation is delayed significantly among all lubrication conditions—even, the lightly-lubricated—when compared with the unlubricated condition. A further evaluation of the results and additional tests are needed to provide further insight into some of the preliminary results that the team has observed thus far. An experimental study of the effect of Top-of-Rail Friction Modifiers (TORFM) in quantities ranging from a small to large amount on the traction and the progression of wheel-rail wear has been performed using the Virginia Tech-FRA (VT-FRA) roller rig, shown below. A series of highly controlled experiments are performed in order to investigate the potential factors related to the quantities of friction modifiers on the traction performance. Besides, the wheel surface profile is measured by the high-precision 3D-laser profiler to measure the progression of wheel wear for the duration of the experiments. The results indicate that it takes a much longer time for the traction forces (coefficients) to reach a condition that is the same as the unlubricated rail when compared between lightly-, moderately-, and heavily-lubricated conditions. The results further indicate that wear generation is delayed significantly among all lubrication conditions—even, the lightly-lubricated—when compared with the unlubricated condition. This study intends to extend the team's past studies to more precisely quantify the relationship between the rail lubrication condition and amount of rail and wheel wear that occurs over time, for various traction and wheel load conditions.

    Language

    • English

    Project

    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $80000
    • Contract Numbers:

      69A3551747132

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      University Transportation Center on Improving Rail Transportation Infrastructure Sustainability and Durability

      University of Nevada, Las Vegas
      Las Vegas, NV  United States  89154
    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

      Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
      3500 Transportation Research Plaza
      Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
    • Principal Investigators:

      AHMADIAN, M

    • Start Date: 20201204
    • Expected Completion Date: 20220930
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01762025
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: University Transportation Center on Improving Rail Transportation Infrastructure Sustainability and Durability
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747132
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Jan 7 2021 9:30PM