Modeling and dynamics of friction wedge dampers in railroad freight trucks

A. B. Kaiser, J. P. Cusumano, J. F. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A mechanical model for the vertical response of the bolster and friction-wedge suspension elements in a railroad freight track is developed. The model incorporates linear stiffnesses and dry friction contact between rigid elements. Numerical bifurcation diagrams for sticking events, obtained for parameterizations of the amplitude and frequency of a harmonic track excitation, and for various friction laws, reveal distinct parameter-dependent dynamic responses: strongly nonlinear stick-slip oscillations, observed away from period-1 resonance; and weakly nonlinear, nearly harmonic responses, observed near the period-one resonance. The analytical method of harmonic balance is applied to develop a first order approximation for the period-1 response, and, as should be expected, is found to correspond well with the numerical results in the large amplitude limit and near the resonance location. Given that such weakly nonlinear, large amplitude, period-1 responses are not common for the speeds and system parameters of most freight vehicles, we conclude that friction-wedge models based on some form of equivalent linearization may be inadequate for simulating freight car dynamics in many cases of practical importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-82
Number of pages28
JournalVehicle System Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling and dynamics of friction wedge dampers in railroad freight trucks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this