2024 Dr. Panahsadat Fasihi

Post Graduate Thesis Award 2024

Thesis: IMPROVING WEAR AND ROLLING CONTACT FATIGUE PERFORMANCE OF RAILWAYS RAILS USING FRITCTION MODIFIERS AND LASER CLADDING

2024 Post Graduate Thesis Award

Winner

Dr. Panahsadat Fasihi

Doctor of Philosophy

Place of Study: Monash University

Panah’s innovative research explores novel approaches to enhancing the longevity and performance of railway rails. Focusing on the critical wheel-rail interface, Panah investigates the efficacy of Solid Lubrication (SL) and Laser Cladding (LC) techniques. Through systematic experimental studies, Panah demonstrates that SL, particularly formulations containing graphite, significantly reduces wear and Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) defects, thereby enhancing rail durability and safety. Additionally, Panah’s research reveals that LC offers a versatile and effective strategy for both coating and repair applications, showcasing its potential to optimize rail maintenance for various rail grades and applications. Panah’s work not only contributes to extending the service life of railway components but also enhances rail safety and efficiency, making her thesis a valuable contribution to the field of railway engineering. As a result of this PhD study, six journal publications and six conference presentations have been prepared.

 

Runner Up #1

Dr. Dayani Kahagala Hewage

THESIS: DYNAMIC BEHAVIOUR OF MACRO SYNTHETIC FIBRE REINFORCED CONCRETE RAILWAY SLEEPERS

Doctor of Philosophy

Place of Study: Western Sydney University, Australia

Dr. Dayani Kahagala Hewage is awarded to be the Runner Up of the RTSA 2024 PhD Thesis Award for her thesis which evaluates the impact performance of macro synthetic fibre reinforced concrete sleepers to provide a reliable and sustainable solution for the premature failure of traditional concrete sleepers. The evaluation of impact forces or behavior of a concrete sleeper under such forces is not yet standardised. Dr. Kahagala Hewage’s research provides in innovative methodology for evaluating the impact performance and the adaptation of the results in sleeper design guidelines, backed up with most of the published work related to impact performance of concrete railway sleeps.

Dr. Kahagala Hewage’s thesis included both a series of material and structural scale experiments conducted and also finite element simulations to improve the reliability of the outcomes. Both the experimental and numerical methods suggested that the fibres can partially remove prestressing wires without hindering the sleeper’s integrity, thus providing a sustainable alternative for the current sleepers. This thesis is supported by 10 publications that have been accepted or published in internationally renowned journals and conferences. Work included in this thesis has also been presented or has been registered to present at seven railway related conferences.

 

Runner up #2

Dr. Chathuri Kulappu Arachchige

THESIS:  EXPERIMENTAL AND NUMERICAL STUDY OF RUBBER INTERMIXED BALLAST SYSTEM SUBJECTED TO MONOTONIC AND CYCLIC LOADING

Doctor of Philosophy

Place of Study: University of Technology, Sydney 

Chathuri Kulappu Arachchige completed her PhD at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) with a very well written and detailed thesis on an experimental and numerical study of adding rubber aggregates to track ballast to enhance track performance and to prolong the life of the ballast and the track structure an approach described as Rubber Intermixed Ballast Stratum (RIBS). The Thesis involved a very clear definition of the issues being investigated followed by detailed research and a significant degree of innovation in the overall problem assessment with a high level of applicability relating to its positive impact on the extended life of the rail infrastructure and reduced associated costs as well as the positive environmental factors with the use of recycled materials.

Chathuri’s research was extensive highlighted by the publications referenced throughout the Thesis as well as her journal papers and conference proceedings relating to the use of recycled waste materials. The Thesis has a very detailed description of the modelling and the actual field trials which were completed with the cooperation of the rail entities on a 20-metre length of track on a freight line. This is a very impressive Thesis and a highly relevant topic at a time when environmental initiatives are strongly encouraged and the operational and cost related impacts on the rail systems are under constant review. Chathura is highly recommended as an equal runner-up for the RTSA PhD Thesis Award for 2024.