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The calculation of noise from railway bridges and viaducts

Bewes, Oliver Guy (2005) The calculation of noise from railway bridges and viaducts University of Southampton, Insitute of Sound and Vibration Research, Doctoral Thesis , 206pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Pandrol Rail Fastenings Limited are a designer and manufacturer of railway rail-fastening systems. As an organisation they have the capability to reduce the noise impact of bridges using resilient track components. They also have a commercial interest in providing such technology. Knowledge of the processes behind bridge noise is important to Pandrol in two ways; to aid the engineers within the organisation in the design of fastening systems and to demonstrate a state-of-the-art understanding of the problem of railway bridge noise to customers, as this will aid in the sale of Pandrol products. The fitting of new rail components to an existing track form, or failure to meet noise regulations with a new track form, can be costly. It is important to be able to predict accurately the effectiveness of noise reduction techniques. Currently, Pandrol’s knowledge of the problem consists almost entirely of experience gained and data gathered while working on existing bridge projects. To expand their knowledge base, Pandrol perform noise and vibration measurements on railway bridges and viaducts and then use the measured data to predict the performance of their systems on other bridges. This completely empirical approach to predicting bridge noise is both costly and situation specific results cannot be provided before the installation of the fastening system. ii Another approach to predicting bridge noise is through the application of analytical models. Limited analytical modelling in the context of bridge noise is currently conducted within the organisation. For these reasons, Pandrol are sponsoring research into bridge noise in the form of this EngD project. Here an existing rapid calculation approach is identified that relies less on the exact geometry of the bridge and more on its general characteristics. In this approach an analytical model of the track is coupled to a statistical energy analysis (SEA) model of the bridge. This approach forms a suitable basis from which to develop a better model here by concentrating on its weaknesses. A mid-frequency calculation for the power input to the bridge via a resilient track system has been developed by modelling the track-bridge system as two finite Timoshenko beams continuously connected by a resilient layer. This has resulted in a power input calculation which includes the important effects of coupling between the rail and bridge and the resonance effects of the finite length of a bridge. In addition, a detailed study of the frequency characteristics of deep I-section beams has been performed using Finite Element, Boundary Element and Dynamic stiffness models. It is shown that, at high frequencies, the behaviour of the beam is characterised by in-plane motion of the beam web and bending motion in the flange. This knowledge has resulted in an improved calculation for the mobility of a bridge at high frequencies. The above improvements are included in an improved model for use by Pandrol in their general activities. Data from real bridges is compared to predictions from the improved model in order to validate different aspects of the model. The model is then used to study the effect on noise of varying many bridge design parameters. It is shown that the parameter that has most influence on the noise performance of a bridge is the dynamic stiffness of the resilient rail fastening system. Additionally it is demonstrated that for a given bridge and noise receiver location, an optimum fastener stiffness exists where the noise radiated by the bridge and track is at a minimum.

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Published date: September 2005
Organisations: University of Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 65989
PURE UUID: 0325f966-43ee-4823-8974-7c37189daf49
ORCID for David Thompson: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 17 Apr 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:28

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