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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 409048, 7 pages
Research Article

Real-Time Train Wheel Condition Monitoring by Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors

1Department of Electronic Engineering, Shantou University, Guangdong 515063, China
2Department of Applied Mathematics, Université catholique de Louvain 1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
3Department of Electrical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Received 25 July 2011; Accepted 8 August 2011

Academic Editor: Tai Hoon Kim

Copyright © 2012 Chuliang Wei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Wheel defects on trains, such as flat wheels and out-of-roundness, inevitably jeopardize the safety of railway operations. Regular visual inspection and checking by experienced workers are the commonly adopted practice to identify wheel defects. However, the defects may not be spotted in time. Therefore, an automatic, remote-sensing, reliable, and accurate monitoring system for wheel condition is always desirable. The paper describes a real-time system to monitor wheel defects based on fiber Bragg grating sensors. Track strain response upon wheel-rail interaction is measured and processed to generate a condition index which directly reflects the wheel condition. This approach is verified by extensive field test, and the preliminary results show that this electromagnetic-immune system provides an effective alternative for wheel defects detection. The system significantly increases the efficiency of maintenance management and reduces the cost for defects detection, and more importantly, avoids derailment timely.