Research Associate on Rail-Wheel Interface Contact Mechanics and Tribology

University of Sheffield - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Job Reference Number: UOS016952

Summary:

Mechanical Engineering has been a major discipline in the University of Sheffield since its foundation in 1905. We have over 80 members of academic and research staff, who, along with more than 100 PhD students, carry out cutting-edge research spanning both fundamental science and industrial applications. The Mechanical Engineering Rail Research Group is working with Network Rail through the EU project In2Track, and through the Horizon2020 project NeTIRail-INFRA, to deliver research on railway rail-wheel interface contact mechanics. This collaboration with Network Rail is the first project to be undertaken in a planned 10-year partnership through the Shift2Rail programme. The focus is on preventing damage in highly stressed regions of the track system, in particular how a premium surface coating can reduce damage to switch and crossing components (often referred to as ‘points’) at which the train transitions between tracks running in different directions.

The post holder will focus on mechanical modelling for a range of rail-wheel contact cases capturing behaviour as the wheel transitions through the switch and moves between tracks. These transition areas are typically characterised by high contact pressures and impact, leading to rail material damage. The research will require literature review on emerging technologies for additive manufacture, focusing on the Laser Cladding which is under development in several other projects at Sheffield. Modelling challenges lie in the prediction of the stress state inside the components, and understanding tolerable material imperfections through contact stress and fracture mechanics assessment. Research will focus particularly on modelling (for example, finite or boundary element techniques), combining this with experimental work at small scale. The project will finish with development of specifications for an enhanced design for the track system.

Applicants must have a PhD (or have equivalent experience) in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, or in another relevant discipline that will provide the skills required for the research. Proven capability and experience of generating and validating research output from modelling tools is essential. This is a full-time post but flexible and part time working would also be considered.

You can view the supporting documentation by clicking on About the Job and About the University located near the top of your screen.

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Northern England