Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 53:9-10 (April 2010), pp. 1636–1645; doi: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2010.01.031 Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The rolling surface for railroad wheels can be a heat source that may have an impact on the performance of the wheel bearing. In this study, experimental data from an electrically-heated railroad wheel set is analyzed by constructing thermal models of the wheel set. A steady finite-element model, a steady-analytical model, and a transient lumped-parameter model are discussed. Model parameters are determined from careful comparisons with the experimental data. The lumped-parameter model given here is intended as a simple predictive tool for determining when wheel heating caused by rail operations will have an impact on bearing temperature. The model parameters found in this study will also be useful as experimentally-validated boundary conditions in ongoing finite-element studies of heated wheels.