Experimental study and modeling of rubber joints for railway vehicles using magnetorheological shear stiffening elastomers

Publication Name

Smart Materials and Structures


With the rapid development of transportation industry, advanced rail vehicle technology receives more attention than ever. The stiffness of the train's rubber joint at the primary suspension system has a crucial influence on the operation stability and curve-passing performance. When the train is running on straight track at high speed, a high primary longitudinal stiffness in bogie design is required, whereas running on the curve track calls for a soft primary longitudinal stiffness. To solve this critical problem, a new rubber joint based on magnetorheological shear stiffening elastomer (MSSE) was proposed. Its stiffness can be adjusted by not only external magnetic field but also its inherent frequency-dependent property, ensuring the functionality of the rubber joint even when the controller fails. The prototype of the MSSE joint was fabricated and assembled. Stiffness controllability of the MSSE joint was evaluated using an material testing system (MTS) machine, with MTS testing performed under varying displacement amplitude at fixed frequency to investigate the influence of the varying displacement amplitude on the effective stiffness. The results revealed that the stiffness of this MSSE joint can be controlled effectively credited to the rate-dependent SSE and adjustable electromagnetics, exhibiting exceptional fail-safe characteristics. Lastly, a dynamic model was established to describe the dynamic performance of the rubber joint. All the above studies demonstrate the feasibility of the joint to satisfy the conflicting stiffness requirements to achieve high speed stability and curve trafficability simultaneously.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)