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UBC Theses and Dissertations

CFD-DEM simulation of locomotive sanders Aishwarya, Gautam


This study presents the development and results of a numerical model of a locomotive sander system. Locomotive sanders are used to optimize traction between the train wheels and railhead by spraying sand into the interface. It has been previously shown that a large fraction of sand sprayed by the sanders does not make it through the wheel-rail nip, leading to sand wastage and thereby increasing the cost and refilling effort. In this project, pneumatic conveying of sand through the wheel-rail nip is numerically modelled through coupled Computational Fluid Dynamics and Discrete Element Method simulations. The gas phase, discrete phase and coupled two-phase flows are separately validated against literature, and the parameters effecting the deposition of sand through the nip- relating to both aerodynamics of the particle laden jet and interaction with geometry are independently analyzed pertaining to their effects on sander efficiency. The aerodynamics associated with the particle laden jet play a critical role in optimizing the amount of sand going through the wheel-rail interface, with the particle velocities being directly correlated with the sander efficiency. Particle-geometry interactions are found to have a negligible effect on the deposition. In the absence of crosswinds, it is recommended to either employ smaller particles, or particles with a higher surface area to volume ratio to enhance the sander efficiency. Furthermore, a larger airflow rate through the nozzle is suggested. It is also found that the presence of crosswinds strongly negatively affects sander efficiency, which can be mitigated, to some extent, by reducing the nip-nozzle distance as much as safety regulations will allow, and using coarser grain particles.

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