The application of methods and tools from aerospace and robotics to railway vehicles has a tradition of more than 25 years at the institute and has even reached the industrial level in the meantime. In fact the virtual design of today’s high-speed-trains such as the ICE relies on the multibody simulation environment Simpack, that has originally been developed at the institute and nowadays represents the technological and economical basis of the spin-off company Intec.
The present-day research activities in railway vehicles are focussed on 2 areas, namely on vehicle dynamics and on energy systems, and are embedded in the DLR-Project “Next Generation Train” (NGT), see figure below. These 2 topics are key technologies that are interrelated to many other disciplines of cooperating DLR institutes, e.g. as follows:
An important part of the current work deals with improvements of the dynamic simulation methodologies in order to prepare ready-to-use technologies for a target-oriented vehicle design and is designated to the specific topics Wheel/Rail Interface, Acoustics, Wear and Crosswind Stability.
Another pillar of the activities is a novel concept of a mechatronic running gear that will be qualified at our scaled M 1:5 roller rig.
Last but not least, we are transferring and applying methods from aeronautics that are based on the modelling language Modelica and are capable to model and design multi-domain energy systems in railway vehicles.
DLR-Project Next Generation Train: side view of the high-speed multiple unit vehicle concept: double deck, high-speed-low-floor running gear with single wheel pairs, two axle configurationat the train head, single axle configuration at the intermediate coaches, an optimized aerodynamics, lightweight design.