A Flexible Multibody Pantograph Model for the Analysis of the Catenary–Pantograph Contact

  • Jorge Ambrósio
  • Frederico Rauter
  • João Pombo
  • Manuel S. Pereira
Part of the Computational Methods in Applied Sciences book series (COMPUTMETHODS, volume 23)


The pantograph–catenary system is still the most reliable form of collecting electric energy for running trains. This system should ideally run with relatively low contact forces, in order to minimize wear and damage of the contacting elements but without contact loss to avoid power supply interruption and electric arching. However, the quality of the pantograph–catenary contact may be affected by operational conditions, defects on the overhead equipment, environmental conditions or by the flexibility of the pantograph components. In this work a flexible multibody methodology based on the use of the mean-axis conditions, as reference conditions, mode component synthesis, as a form of reducing the number of generalized coordinates of the system and virtual bodies, as a methodology to allow the use of all kinematic joints available for multibody modeling and application of external forces, are used to allow building the flexible multibody pantograph models. The catenary model is built in a linear finite element code developed in a Matlab environment, which is co-simulated with the multibody code to represent the complete system interaction. A thorough description of rigid-flexible multibody pantograph models is presented in a way that the proposed methodology can be used. Several flexible multibody models of the pantograph are described and proposed and the quality of the pantograph–catenary contact is analyzed and discussed in face of the flexibility of the overhead components.


Contact Force Absolute Nodal Coordinate Formulation Kinematic Joint Flexible Body Multibody Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work presented has been developed in the framework of the European Project EUROPAC (European Optimized Pantograph Catenary Interface, contract no. STP4-CT-2005-012440) with the partners SNCF, Alstom Transport, ARTTIC, Banverket, Ceské dráhy akciová společnost, Deutsche Bahn, Faiveley Transport, Mer Mec SpA, Politecnico di Milano, Réseau ferré de France, Rete ferroviara italiana, Trenitalia SpA, UNIFE, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan. The collaboration of SNCF, Faiveley Transport and Politécnico di Milano to the work reported is specially acknowledged. The support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) through the grant SFRH/BD/18848/2004 is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Ambrósio
    • 1
  • Frederico Rauter
    • 1
  • João Pombo
    • 1
  • Manuel S. Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.IDMEC-ISTLisboaPortugal

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