Estimating the Performance of Rail Dampers Using Laboratory Methods and Software Predictions
Rail dampers are designed to reduce the rail component of rolling noise by increasing the attenuation with distance along the rail (decay rate, DR). There is no standardized method to assess the performance of rail dampers. The method described here, developed during the Franco-German STARDAMP project, uses laboratory tests and computer simulation to avoid the need for expensive and time-consuming field trials. The premise of the method is that the DRs of a damped track can be found from summing the DRs of a short-section of damped ‘freely supported’ rail and the DRs of an undamped track. Reasonable predictions of the decay rates of a test track have been made using this method. Software has been produced that implements TWINS-like predictions of rolling noise with and without rail dampers to predict the damper effect. The effect of rail pad stiffness on the effectiveness of rail dampers has been considered for track constructions typical in the UK and a regional train travelling at 120 km/h. For track fitted with ‘soft’ 120 MN/m rail pads, the dampers are predicted to reduce the total level by 2.5 dB(A) while with the ‘stiff’ 800 MN/m pads a 0.7 dB(A) reduction is expected.
KeywordsSound Pressure Level Frequency Response Function Tuned Mass Damper Test Track Rail Head
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