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Engineering Failure Analysis 14 (2007) 63–72

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Evaluation of structural safety of a tilting bolster


Jung-Seok Kim *, Nam-Po Kim
Conventional Rail Engineering Corps, Korea Railroad Research Institute 374-1 Woulam-Dong,
Uiwang-shi, Kyunggi-do 437-050, South Korea

Received 9 December 2005; accepted 26 December 2005


Available online 7 March 2006

Abstract

This study has performed the experimental study to assess the structural safety of a bolster frame that is applied to the
bogie system of Korean tilting train. In order to achieve this goal, firstly, loading conditions imposed on the bolster frame
were investigated. Based on the international standard and dynamic analysis, the loading conditions were derived. In this
study, the dynamic load cases that consider the carbody tilting effect were established. The structural safety of the bolster
frame was evaluated by static test under these static loads and the fatigue strength was assessed using Goodman diagram.
From the assessment, the bolster frame has satisfied the structural safety. In addition, fatigue test was carried out up to
10 · 106 cycles under tilting load condition established in this study. The inspection of fatigue crack using NDT method
was conducted at 6 · 106 and 10 · 106 cycle.
 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Tilting train; Fatigue strength; Bolster; NDT

1. Introduction

When a train run at a high speed over a curve, the generated centrifugal force adversely affects ride comfort
by pushing passengers toward the outside of the curve. The tilting train has been developed to minimize lateral
forces acting on passengers by tilting the body toward the inside of the curve [1–5]. A tilting bogie is a key
component of the tilting train. A bogie of a railway vehicle has to sustain the weight of the carbody and con-
trol the wheelsets in the correct alignment to meet the conflicting requirements of stable running on straight
track and good curving performance with low track wear. In the tilting train, a carbody tilting system is
installed within the bogie. The carbody tilting system is composed of a tilting bolster, a tilting actuator and
a tilting linkage. The carbody is seated on the bolster through the air-spring. The carbody is tilted by the roll
moment generated by means of a tilting actuator located between the bogie frame and the tilting bolster.

*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +82 31 460 5663; fax: +82 31 460 5699.
E-mail addresses: jskim@krri.re.kr (J.-S. Kim), npkim@krri.re.kr (N.-P. Kim).

1350-6307/$ - see front matter  2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2005.12.008
64 J.-S. Kim, N.-P. Kim / Engineering Failure Analysis 14 (2007) 63–72

Therefore, the bolster is subjected to some repeated loading by the tilting action. There are some studies on
strength evaluation for the bogie frame of the conventional railway vehicles [6,7]. Author [8] has performed the
strength evaluation of the bogie frame for the tilting train. However, it is hard to find the studies on the bolster
of the tilting railway vehicles.
In this study, structural safety for the bolster of the Korean tilting train has been assessed by static, fatigue
and nondestructive test. The dynamic loads according to the carbody tilting were considered. Then, the com-
bined load cases obtained by the UIC standard and dynamic analysis were used for the finite element analysis
and the static tests of the bolster and the fatigue strength was evaluated by Goodman diagram. In addition,
fatigue test was carried out up to 10 · 106 cycles under tilting load condition established in this study. The
fatigue cracks were inspected using liquid penetrant method and magnetic particle method at 6 · 106 and
10 · 106 cycle.

2. Bolster of the Korean tilting train

In the Korean tilting train, the tilting bolster supports and tilts the carbody. The weight of carbody is
supported by the cross beams of the bogie frame through the links. The carbody is tilted by the roll
moment generated by means of a tilting actuator located between the bogie frame and the tilting bolster.
The four-bar linkage system is adopted for the bogie tilting mechanism. The bolster is a welded steel box
structure as shown in Fig. 1. Two air-spring seats, two lateral damper brackets, two bumper stoppers, four
tilting link brackets and an actuator bracket were welded on it. The vertical plates of the bolster were
welded with the upper, lower cover plates and vertical rib plates in the box. The inner space of it will
be used an air storage tank with capacity of 42 l. The upper and lower cover plates have thickness of
14 mm. The thickness of the vertical plates is 12 mm and the vertical rib plates of 9 mm. The bolster is
made of SM490A steel [8]. Fig. 2 illustrates loading conditions of the tilting bolster under the normal
and tilting condition of the carbody. Under the normal condition, the forces acting on the bolster are com-
posed of vertical force (FLw, FRw) by carbody weight and lateral force (FLd) by lateral vibration of the car-
body. Equilibrium forces for the vertical forces of FLw and FRw are the resulting forces, FL and FR. In the
normal position (nontilting condition), the left and the right tilting links are inclined at an angle of 23 to
the vertical axis. Therefore, the resulting force FL has two components of FLy and FLz in the direction of y
and z. If the carbody is tilted to +8, the angle between the left link and the vertical axis are increased to
45 while the angle between the right one and the vertical axis are decreased to 5 as shown in Fig. 2(b).
Then, FLy and FLz were increased while FRy and FRz has an opposite trend. In addition, for the tilting of
carbody, the actuator force of Fact is generated. When the carbody is tilted to 8, the trend was opposite
to +8 tilting of the carbody.

Fig. 1. Structure of the tilting bolster.


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Fig. 2. Loads imposed on the bolster under (a) nontilting and (b) tilting position.

3. Finite element analysis

3.1. Static loads

In this study, main in-service load case defined in UIC615-4 [9] was adopted for static load condition. The
main in-service load case is designed to verify the absence of any risk of fatigue cracks occurring under the
combined effect of the main forces encountered during service. These load cases consist of different load sce-
narios subjecting bolster involving running of straight track, curve negotiation, rolling and bouncing effect.
The load combinations are composed of nine cases [8,9].

3.2. Dynamic loads by tilting

In addition to the conventional load combination for the bolster, the dynamic load cases that can consider
the carbody tilting were established. In case of the dynamic load, the following factors were additionally con-
sidered [8]:

 Weight transfer from wheel to wheel across an axle by tilting.


 Uncompensated centrifugal force by high-speed curving.
 Driving force generated by the electromechanical actuators to provide the tilting action.

In order to investigate the dynamic loads due to tilting, a multi-body dynamic analysis was performed to
evaluate the dynamic load using ADAMS [10]. The most severe operating condition encountered during oper-
ation is to run a narrow S-curve with the maximum uncompensated steady lateral acceleration of 2.0 m/s2, the
maximum tilting angular velocity of 4/s and the maximum tilting angle of 8. The above condition is applied
for the dynamic analysis. The track geometry for this simulation is composed of two circular curves with
radius of 300 m, four transition curves with length of 75 m and cant of 100 mm. The train speed of
100 km/h corresponding to the uncompensated steady lateral acceleration of 2.0 m/s2 is assumed. Table 1 lists
the load combinations of the main in-service load case and the dynamic loads based on the dynamic analysis
result. The resultant forced obtained from the dynamic analysis was combined with the actuator force and
lateral forces.
66 J.-S. Kim, N.-P. Kim / Engineering Failure Analysis 14 (2007) 63–72

Table 1
Load combinations for the main in-service loads and the dynamic loads
Loads Resultant force imposed on the Lateral load (kN) Actuator load (kN)
tilting link brackets
FR (kN) FL (kN) FY (kN) Fact
1 123.2 123.2 0 0
2 110.9 862.4 0 0
3 110.9 862.4 +71 0
4 160.2 135.5 0 0
5 160.2 135.5 +71 0
6 862.4 110.9 0 0
7 862.4 110.9 71 0
8 135.5 160.2 0 0
9 135.5 160.2 71 0
10 71.2 168.4 64 +75
11 162.5 77.8 +64 75

3.3. Result of the finite element analysis

Based on the feature of the bolster structure, it was meshed as shell elements and solid elements. The finite
element analysis was performed using ABAQUS [11]. The vertical plates and cover plates and all the partition
plates are meshed as four sides shell elements (S4 element of ABAQUS). The bumper stoppers, tilting actuator
brackets, tilting link brackets, lateral damper brackets were meshed as solid elements (C3D8I element of ABA-
QUS). The four tilting links were modeled by rigid body element. Thus it was meshed to have totally 39742
nodes and 16322 elements. Four upper connecting bars of the tilting links are installed in the tilting link brack-
ets welded on the cross beam of the bogie. Each connecting bar can rotate with respect to its longitudinal axis
by self lubrication bushes. Therefore, the boundary condition for the bolster was defined as shown in Fig. 3. In
order to allow the rotation of the connecting bars about y-axis, all degree of freedoms except hy of the bars
were set to be fixed at three bars. All degree of freedoms was fixed for the fourth bar to avoid the rigid body
motion.
Fig. 4 shows the maximum principal stress and Von–Mises stress distribution of the bolster under the car-
body weight. There are several stress concentration areas. On the top parts of the bolster, the maximum prin-
cipal stress areas are located around the welding area between the bumper stopper and the upper cover plate.
The maximum Von–Mises stress occurred the roots of the tilting link brackets because the vertical force by
carbody weight was support by tilting link brackets.

Fig. 3. Finite element model of the bolster.


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Fig. 4. Stress distribution of the bolster under the vertical load.

Fig. 5. Experimental setup of the tilting bolster.


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4. Tests

4.1. Static test condition

Fig. 5 shows the experimental setup for the static test. Five hydraulic actuators were used for the test. For
the vertical components of FRy and FLy, two actuators of 50 ton capacity were installed on the tilting link

Fig. 6. Location of the strain gauges.

Force STEP 3
140%
STEP 2
120%
STEP 1
100%

C
B
A

N
N=6x106cycle N=2x106cycle N=2x106cycle

Fig. 7. Fatigue test procedure.


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brackets. For the lateral components of FRx and FLx, two actuators of 25 ton capacity were used. The tilting
actuator force of Fact was generated by an actuator of 25 ton capacity. For placement of the bolster on the test
facility, two fixing jigs were manufactured.
Fig. 6 shows the location of strain gauges bonded on the top and bottom surface of the bolster. A total of
14 gauges were used. Five single gauges and seven rosette gauges were used. In Fig. 6, S and R mean the single
and rosette gauges, respectively.

4.2. Fatigue test condition

The fatigue test enables the overall bolster service life to be ascertained, the safety margin to be evaluated
and possible weak points not identified by the static tests to be detected. The test setup for it is the same with
the static one. Fig. 7 shows the test procedure. The test was performed in three stages.

- The first load step consists of a total number of dynamic cycles of 6 · 106.
- The second load step consists of 2 · 106 cycles multiplied by 1.2.

Fig. 8. The combined force history of the: (a) vertical and (b) lateral force.
70 J.-S. Kim, N.-P. Kim / Engineering Failure Analysis 14 (2007) 63–72

- The third load step consists of 2 · 106 cycles, and is performed as the second, but with the factors 1.2
replaced by 1.4.

It consists of alternating quasi-static and dynamic load sequences that represent running in right and left
curve. In each sequence corresponding to a curve to the right and the left, the number of dynamic cycles, verti-
cally and laterally, is 20. The dynamic variations of the vertical and lateral forces are at the same frequency. Fig. 8
shows the vertical and lateral force variations imposed on the right and left tilting link bracket of the bolster.

4.3. Test results and discussion

Table 2 lists the static test results. The maximum principal stress, minimum principal stress, mean stress,
alternating stress, load cases with maximum and minimum stress were calculated in accordance with the pro-
cedure defined in the ERRI B 12 RP 17 report [12]. These results of Table 2 were obtained from the combined
stresses under 11 load cases of Table 1. In Table 2, the numbers in the parenthesis mean the load cases defined
in Table 1. The maximum principal stress occurred at gauge 26 located on the top surface of the bolster under
load case 5 of Table 1. The maximum mean stress occurred at gauge 27 under the combination of load case 11
and load case 3. Fig. 9 shows the Goodman diagram for the results. From Fig. 9, all points were under the
welding line so that the bolster satisfied the fatigue safety.

Table 2
Experimental results for the bogie frame under load cases of Table 1
Gauge number rp max. (MPa) rp min. (MPa) rmean (MPa) Dr (MPa)
26 88.4(5) 21.7(7) 33.3 55.1
27 72.3(11) 19.1(3) 45.7 26.6
28 43.1(4) 24.1(6) 33.6 9.5
29 6.7(9) 3.4(10) 5.0 1.7
30 9.0(11) 5.95(9) 1.52 7.5
31 18.2(11) 19.8(5) 0.8 19.0
37 11.1(5) 5.2(7) 8.2 3.0

Fig. 9. Goodman diagram for the bolster.


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Fig. 10. Nondestructive test results for the roots of the tilting link brackets, and the welding area between the bumper stopper and the
upper cover plate.

During the fatigue test, fatigue crack detection test using liquid penetrant test (PT) was carried out at
6 · 106 cycles and the liquid penetrant test and magnetic particle test (MT) were conducted at 10 · 106 cycle.
Fig. 10 shows the nondestructive test result for the roots of the tilting link brackets, and the welding area
between the bumper stopper and the upper cover plate. No fatigue cracks were found after the third step,
therefore, it could be ensured that the bolster satisfy the structural safety.

5. Conclusions

In this study, structural safety for the bolster of the Korean tilting train has been assessed by analytical
studies, static, fatigue and nondestructive tests. The stress concentration areas were evaluated through the
finite element analysis. From the analysis, on the top parts of the bolster, the stress concentration areas
occurred between the bumper stopper and the upper cover plate. The maximum principal stress occurred
72 J.-S. Kim, N.-P. Kim / Engineering Failure Analysis 14 (2007) 63–72

at gauge 26 located on the top surface of the bolster. The measured stress distribution showed a similar trend
with the calculated one. All of the stresses were under the welding line of Goodman diagram so that the bolster
satisfied the fatigue safety.

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