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Design and Analysis of MEMS based Accelerometer for Automatic Detection of Railway Wheel Flat

Authors: Rajib Ul Alam Uzzal, Ion Stiharu, Waiz Ahmed


This paper presents the modeling of a MEMS based accelerometer in order to detect the presence of a wheel flat in the railway vehicle. A haversine wheel flat is assigned to one wheel of a 5 DOF pitch plane vehicle model, which is coupled to a 3 layer track model. Based on the simulated acceleration response obtained from the vehicle-track model, an accelerometer is designed that meets all the requirements to detect the presence of a wheel flat. The proposed accelerometer can survive in a dynamic shocking environment with acceleration up to ±150g. The parameters of the accelerometer are calculated in order to achieve the required specifications using lumped element approximation and the results are used for initial design layout. A finite element analysis code (COMSOL) is used to perform simulations of the accelerometer under various operating conditions and to determine the optimum configuration. The simulated results are found within about 2% of the calculated values, which indicates the validity of lumped element approach. The stability of the accelerometer is also determined in the desired range of operation including the condition under shock.

Keywords: MEMS accelerometer, Pitch plane vehicle, wheel flat

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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