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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 86
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper 46

Influence of the Aerodynamic Forces on the Pantograph-Catenary System for High Speed Trains

J. Pombo1, J. Ambrósio1, M. Pereira1, F. Rauter2, A. Collina3 and A. Facchinetti3

1IDMEC/IST, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
2Division of Inovation and Research, SNCF, Paris, France
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
J. Pombo, J. Ambrósio, M. Pereira, F. Rauter, A. Collina, A. Facchinetti, "Influence of the Aerodynamic Forces on the Pantograph-Catenary System for High Speed Trains", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 46, 2007. doi:10.4203/ccp.86.46
Keywords: multibody dynamics, pantograph-catenary interaction, contact forces, wind forces.

Most of the high-speed trains in operation today have the electrical power supply delivered through the pantograph-catenary system. The understanding of the dynamics of this system is fundamental since it contributes to decrease the number of incidents related to these components, to reduce the maintenance and to improve interoperability. From the mechanical point of view, the most important feature of the pantograph-catenary system consists in the quality of the contact between the contact wire of the catenary and the contact strips of the pantograph. Therefore, the study of this system requires not only the correct modelling of the catenary and of the pantograph, but also a suitable contact model to describe the interaction between the two subsystems.

In this work, the catenary is represented by a detailed finite element model while the pantograph is described by a detailed multibody model. Since the finite element and the multibody modules use different time integration algorithms, an extra difficulty that arises in the study of the complete pantograph-catenary interaction concerns the need for the co-simulation of the two modules. In order to be computationally efficient, the communication between the multibody and finite element codes should be done by using a shared computer memory. An integrated methodology to represent the contact between the finite element and multibody models, based on a continuous contact force model, was already developed [1,2,3].

The work presented here aims at enhancing the understanding of the pantograph-catenary interaction phenomena and, consequently, on the operating conditions, due to the action of aerodynamics forces in high speed trains. The wind forces are applied on the catenary by distributing them on the finite element mesh. Since the multibody formulation does not include explicitly the geometric information of the bodies, the wind field forces are applied to each body of the pantograph as nonlinear external forces, which were obtained in wind tunnel experiments.

The proposed methodologies are demonstrated by their application to real operation scenarios for high speed trains on a straight track. The simulation results are compared with the results obtained without aerodynamic forces in order to evaluate the influence of the wind field forces on the pantograph-catenary interaction. The results obtained show that the wind loads have the tendency to raise the pantograph and increase the contact forces. It is also observed that all components of the overhead power system have an incremental contribution to the increase of the contact force due to wind loads, having the pantograph the most noteworthy influence.

Rauter, F., Pombo, J., Ambrósio, J. and Pereira, M. "Multibody Modeling of Pantographs for Catenary-Pantograph Interaction", Proceedings of the IUTAM Symposium, Stuttgart, Germany, February 20-23, 2006. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-5981-0_20
Rauter, F., Pombo, J., Ambrósio, J. and Pereira, M. "Multibody Modeling of Pantographs for Pantograph-Catenary Interaction", Proceedings of the III European Conference on Computational Mechanics, Lisbon, Portugal, June 5-8, 2006. doi:10.1007/1-4020-5370-3_334
Rauter, F., et al. "Contact Model for the Pantograph-Catenary Interaction", Proceedings of the Third Asian Conference on Multibody Dynamics 2006 (ACMD2006), Komaba, Tokyo, Japan, August 1-4, 2006. doi:10.1299/jsdd.1.447

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