The boundary-layer characteristics and unsteady flow topology of full-scale operational inter-modal freight trains

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The boundary layers that develop at the sides of full-scale operational inter-modal freight trains were measured using rakes of 4-hole dynamic-pressure probes. The average boundary-layer displacement thickness at the middle of the trains measured under low crosswind was 1.6 ​m (within the range of 0.5–3 ​m), showing turbulence intensities of 4–13%, and length scales of 5–30 ​m. These characteristics, together with other quantitative details provided in the paper, are intended to provide insight for future experiments and simulations to model real-world conditions around freight trains. The sensitivity of the boundary layer and flow topology to environmental crosswinds and loading configuration was also investigated. In addition, insight is provided into the unsteady flow topology around freight trains, the frequency content of the induced flow, and correlation characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104164
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Boundary layer
  • Freight train
  • Induced flow
  • Real-world conditions
  • Train aerodynamics
  • Transient flow

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