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Case Study: Non-Linear Stress Analysis of a Railway Wagon Suspension Spring

Gap contact elements were used to model interface contact within the spring buckle at the leaf location dimples and also to incorporate friction between the spring leaves.

A detailed finite element model of the 4-leaf parabolic spring was assembled. It needed to include representations of the central clamping buckle, the interleaf damping clips, the pivot links and the pins.
The load-deflection characteristics obtained from the model were shown to be in excellent agreement with both classical theory and manufacturing production quality testing results.

Having checked the model, it was used to relate the displacement of the spring assembly to the working stresses within the dimples of both the main leaf and helper leaf. These stress concentration factors were applied to on-track strain gauge signals recorded by D.A.T.S. Ltd.

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