Research into the problem of wheel tread spalling caused by wheelset longitudinal vibration

Wei Liu, Weihua Ma*, Shihui Luo, Shengyang Zhu, Chongfeng Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study mainly focuses on the mechanism of wheel tread spalling through wheelset longitudinal vibration that has been often neglected. Analysis of two actual cases of the wheel tread spalling problem leads to the conclusion that the wheel tread spalling is closely related to the wheelset longitudinal vibration in some locomotives, and many of these problems can be reasonably explained if the wheelset longitudinal vibration is considered. For better understanding of some abnormal wheel spalling problems, the formations of the wheelset longitudinal vibration and the wheel/rail contact parameters were analysed in the initial wheel tread spalling. With the preliminary analytical results, the wheelset longitudinal dynamic behaviour, the characteristics of wheel/rail contact and the mechanics in the condition of the wheelset longitudinal vibration were further studied quantitatively. The results showed that the wheelset longitudinal vibration changed not only the limit of these parameters and the position of principal stress, but also the direction of the principal stress on the surface of wheel/rail contact patch. It is likely that the significant stress changes provoke too much stress on the surface of wheel/rail contact patch, cause fatigue in wheel/rail contact patch and eventually lead to wheel tread spalling. The results of these studies suggest that the suppression of the wheelset longitudinal vibration extends wheel/rail life and the addition of a vertical damper with an ahead angle provides a possible solution to the wheel spalling problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-567
Number of pages22
JournalVehicle System Dynamics
Issue number4
Early online date11 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 03 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the grants of the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant no. 51005190], the National Basic Research Program of China [973 Program] under Grant 2013CB036202 and Dr Innovation Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • contact patch
  • longitudinal creepage
  • wheel tread spalling
  • wheelset longitudinal vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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