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Evaluating stray current leakage in direct current electrification systems


On November 9, IDOM will present the conference: Model, Simulation and Design of Stray Currents Collector in Slab Track DC-Electrified Railway, in the 5th International Transportation Electrification Conference (ITEC). The event will take place at the East Midlands Conference Centre in the University of Nottingham (UK). The Technical Committee of the organization has highlighted the work presented for its technological interest and applicability to real cases.

The study developed aims to solve one of the main problems of direct current electrification systems: the evaluation and mitigation of stray current leakage. This effect is produced by the variability of the electrical resistance between rail, fixings and the rest of the superstructure and infrastructure, which can lead an important reduction of the durability of the different infrastructures, as a result of the loss in mass of the reinforced concrete through corrosion. It is especially important to analyze this effect in metro and tram systems. In urban environments, apart from the reinforcement being more vulnerable, the effect on water, gas, etc. networks next to the rail line may also increase.

The methodology developed combines the use of a traction system simulator (IDOM-REPS DC) and modeling using FEM technology in 3-D © Maxwell for low and medium frequency electromagnetic systems. It has already been presented with great success at the 9th Rail Innovation Congress in November 2017 and the 4th International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance held last September.

This methodology was developed with the participation of experts from IDOM, Francisco José Sánchez Aguilar and Jordi Coves. The team was completed by Professor Joan Rull of the Department of Electrical Energy of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).

October 31, 2018

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Methodology developed

As has been mentioned, this methodology combines the use of a traction system simulator (IDOM-REPS DC) and modeling using 3-D © Maxwell FEM technology for low and medium frequency electromagnetic systems. In projects, the current trend is to include a collector system for stray currents, in order to alleviate adverse effects, by reducing the percentage of current circulating through the infrastructure. This procedure allows us to evaluate the efficiency of the different collector systems, adjusting the costs of these. It also allows the characteristics of the different elements to be modified, elements such as the degree of humidity of the concrete or the ground, and the level of degradation of the insulation of the rail fixings, which leads to estimate the behaviour of the systems designed in different scenarios.

Schedule of the presentation

The presentation will be on November 9, at 13:30 in Room 3, during the Poster Sessions (the East Midlands Conference Centre of the University of Nottingham). Click on the following link to see the complete program of the Conference.

From left to right: Jordi Coves, Director of Electrical and Traction Technology in IDOM, and Professor Joan Rull of the Department of Electric Power of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).