Investigation of top of rail lubrication and laser glazing for improved railroad energy efficiency

Saud Aldajah, Oyelayo O. Ajayi, George R. Fenske, Sudhir Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Two new technologies have recently been developed that can help to solve some of the wheel rail contact problems. The first is a method of top of rail lubrication (TOR) or friction modification (FM). The second is a technique of laser glazing of steel rails. Both technologies help in reducing the friction, wear, and energy consumption in the wheel rail contact. This paper introduces the two technologies and presents some specific aspects of both methods. A 1:12 scale wheel/rail simulator (LA 4000) was used to study the potential of these two new technologies on energy savings. In order to develop an efficient top of rail lubrication system, all parameters affecting FM consumption rates have been studied. These parameters include speed, angle of attack, load and lubricant quantity. LA 4000 friction/wear studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of laser glazing and TOR lubricant on the lateral slip forces between a simulated wheel/rail. Three conditions under dry and lubricated environments were studied: unglazed wheel and an unglazed rail, an unglazed wheel against a glazed rail, and a glazed wheel against a glazed rail. The results of the tests indicate that the use of TOR and laser glazing does indeed reduce the lateral forces, which are an indirect measure of the damage caused to the wheel, rail and track.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-648
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Tribology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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