The application of active control in railway pantographs

Duan, Huayu ORCID: 0000-0003-1525-2481 (2023). The application of active control in railway pantographs. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Pantographs are essential elements of modern electric trains, coupling the train to the overhead electric lines in order to deliver a continuous supply of electrical energy to the vehicle. Undesired contact can cause excessive wear and poor train operation performance. In the worst case, this can eventually lead to dewirement incidents that can damage both the train and the overhead lines.
Pantographs in operation today, are essentially passive devices. However, active pantograph design has the potential to significantly improve the robustness of the pantograph–catenary interaction, in order to deliver a continuous power transmission for electric trains. However, it is found that the model-based controllers of current active pantograph research are not properly validated, whereas those that are tested in the laboratory are not designed based on the model. This thesis proposes a new and complete design and test approach for active pantographs following the typical model-based control design process.
A validated pantograph–catenary model and simulation framework are first developed, based on which a new (real-time-capable) disturbance-observer-based catenary model is proposed to improve the accuracy of active pantograph validation in simulation. It is advised that the proposed model should replace the classic time-varying lumped-mass catenary model in active pantograph validation.
A variety of control laws, ranging from the classic control methods to the state-of-the-art sliding mode control, are applied to the active pantograph design. The goal of designing a closed-loop pantograph system is to control the contact force by providing the measured contact force (i.e., output feedback), so as to make the contact force closer to the desired magnitude and thus reduce fluctuations. The active pantographs designed based on the linearised pantograph–catenary model have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing contact force fluctuation when validating with accurate catenary models.
Through the model-based active pantograph design approach, a novel frame-actuated active pantograph prototype (controlled by pneumatic pressure) is designed and tested with a hardware-in-the-loop experiment. The designed active pantograph in the laboratory can reduce the contact force fluctuation as expected at the design and simulation stages. It is recommended that more refined modelling approaches would be beneficial in delivering better control performance in the active pantograph.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TF Railroad engineering and operation
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering


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