Passenger Train Slipstream Characterization Using a Rotating Rail Rig

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This paper presents the results of a new experimental technique to determine the structure of train slipstreams. The highly turbulent, nonstationary nature of the slipstreams make their measurement difficult and time consuming as in order to identify the trends of behavior several passings of the train have to be made. This new technique has been developed in order to minimize considerably the measuring time. It consists of a rotating rail rig to which a 1/50 scale model of a four car high speed train is attached. Flow velocities were measured using two multihole Cobra probes, positioned close to the model sides and top. Tests were carried out at different model speeds, although if the results were suitably normalized, the effect of model speed was not significant. Velocity time histories for each configuration were obtained from ensemble averages of the results of a large number of runs (of the order of 80). From these it was possible to define velocity and turbulence intensity contours along the train, as well as the displacement thickness of the boundary layer, allowing a more detailed analysis of the flow. Also, wavelet analysis was carried out on different runs to reveal details of the unsteady flow structure around the vehicle. It is concluded that, although this methodology introduces some problems, the results obtained with this technique are in good agreement with previous model and full scale measurements. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4001577]


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)061401-
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • locomotives, slip flow, boundary layer turbulence