Contact problems typically do not arise by themselves but come embedded in bigger constellations. Circumstances vary from one case to another, which makes it hard to define generic and easy software. This is addressed by custom software development and custom integration.
An example project concerns our work for Sentient Science on rail life extension. A simulation approach is developed to assess profile evolution considering wear and grinding. This allows to compare the projected life for different tentative profiles, saving money on rail replacement and depreciation.
The target for these simulations is to evaluate rail life at one segment of track for given operational conditions. Traffic data are collected, e.g. the number of trains, types of wagons, loads, speeds, and wheel profiles, as well as track properties, such as geometry and friction management practices. These data are used in stochastic simulations that represent the actual situation with a much-reduced number of loadings. Vehicle dynamics simulation is used to assess the cars’ running dynamics. The contact situation is then analyzed in detail using our CONTACT software. The results of this are fed into Sentient’s wear and grinding calculations. This is repeated multiple times, until a profile is worn down to a predefined threshold and the life is exhausted.
In this project, we developed Python scripts to automate repeated CONTACT calculations. Reading inputs from an Excel-file, configuring the CONTACT library version, processing, and error checking. We also aided with the overall set-up of the simulations. Discussing the physical interactions and their approximation, performance versus accuracy trade-offs, and so on. Just drop us a note if you want to learn more of this type of application.