Design optimisation of switch rails in railway turnouts
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2013
Inspired by a manufacturing process of switch rails for railway turnouts, a method for the optimisation of switch rail profile geometry is presented. The switch rail profile geometry is parameterised with four design variables to define a B-spline curve for the milling tool profile, and two design variables to prescribe the deviation from the nominal vertical path of the milling tool. The optimisation problem is formulated as a multi-objective minimisation problem with objective functions based on the contact pressure and the energy dissipation in the wheel–rail contact. The front of Pareto optimal solutions is determined by applying a genetic type optimisation algorithm. The switch rail profile designs are evaluated by simulations of dynamic train–turnout interaction. It is concluded that the obtained set of Pareto optimal solutions corresponds to a rather small variation in design variables where increased profile height and increased profile shoulder protuberance are preferred for both objectives. The improvement in the objectives comes at the cost of an earlier wheel transition to the switch rail and thus increased vertical loading at a thinner rail cross-section. The performance of the optimised geometry is evaluated using a set of 120 measured wheel profiles, and it is shown that the optimised geometry reduces damage also for this large load collective. It is concluded that accurate limits on switch rail loading need to be established to determine the feasible design space for switch rail geometry optimisation.