The application of dither to mitigate curve squeal
Journal article, 2021

Curve squeal is a highly disturbing tonal sound generated by rail vehicles like trains, metros or trams, when negotiating a sharp curve. The probability that squeal occurs increases with reduced curve radius of the track. Curve squeal noise is attributed to self-excited vibrations caused by stick/slip behaviour due to lateral creepage of the wheel tyre on the top of the rail. With respect to the large number of rolling stock units and the long lifetime of vehicles, there is an urgent need for a cheap and simple retrofitting measure to reduce curve squeal. Therefore, main objective of this paper is to investigate the potential to reduce curve squeal by means of active control in the form of dither in an efficient and robust way. Dither control has been applied in the field of mechanical engineering for systems including non-linear components. There it has been shown to suppress self-excited oscillations very efficiently. The control is an open-loop control. It consists in adding a forced vibration to the vibrational system. A time-domain model has been applied to investigate the mechanisms behind self-excited vibrations leading to curve squeal at the squealing noise rig at Chalmers University of Technology. The analysis showed, that in the presence of constant friction, the coupling between lateral and vertical direction is the driving mechanism for building up self-excited vibrations. Based on this insight, the potential of dither has been investigated. For the case considered here dither has the potential to reduce the overall kinetic energy on the wheel by more than 10 dB and on the rail by more than 20 dB. Further optimisation of dither forces with respect to the radiated sound power might increase this potential.

Dither control

Squealing noise

Self-excited vibrations

Railway noise


Wolfgang Kropp

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Jannik Theyssen

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Astrid Pieringer

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Journal of Sound and Vibration

0022-460X (ISSN) 1095-8568 (eISSN)

Vol. 514 116433

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Vehicle Engineering

Control Engineering



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