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An investigation into the aerodynamic characteristics of catenary contact wires in a cross-wind

Scanlon, T.J. and Stickland, M.T. (2001) An investigation into the aerodynamic characteristics of catenary contact wires in a cross-wind. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 215 (4). pp. 311-318. ISSN 0954-4097

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An experimental analysis of the aerodynamic characteristics of catenary contact wires is presented. The aerodynamic data obtained were used to calculate the Glauert-Den Harthog criterion for one-dimensional galloping. Utilizing this criterion, the susceptibility to galloping instability of a number of contact wire cross-sections was assessed. The analysis showed that a galloping oscillation can only be induced in a cross-wind when the wire is worn and the flow approaches the wire at an angle of between 7 and 14° to the horizontal. This analysis suggested an explanation for the large-scale oscillations experienced by catenary wires on elevated railway tracks in exposed positions, where the close proximity of the embankment to the wire generates large angles of attack in the flow field around the contact wire.