Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Ampere 2019

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Microwave Generated Plasma Railway Track Treatment
Julian Swan, Matt Candy, Marilena Radoui

Last modified: 11-10-2019


Braking conditions are a fundamental issue for the railway and have been a limiting factor in network capacity & timetabling. This work was focused on taking high power microwave generated plasma out of the laboratory into a railway environment.

The Imagination Factory with no experience in microwave generated plasma has partnered with experts in this field to develop a mobile system which delivered 15kW 2.45GHz microwave generated plasma – Fig.1. The plasma was created within a dielectric tube placed in a monomode microwave cavity; the atmospheric plasma sustained in different inert gases (nitrogen, argon) gases as well as mixtures of inert gases with reactive molecules was jetted directly onto the railhead as to change the conditions for the wheel-rail interface. This technology is hoped to be a game changer in enabling predictable & optimized braking on the railway network. Challenges encountered during the demonstration phase will be discussed.




microwave plasma, high power, thermal effects, mobile, rail, real-world testing

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