Railway transportation has been increasingly significant for modern society in recent decades. To enable smart technology, such as health monitoring and electromagnetic braking for railway vehicles, a mechanical motion rectifier (MMR) based energy harvesting shock absorber (EHSA) has been proposed and proved to be capable of scavenging energy from the train suspension vibration. When installed on the train, MMR-EHSA works as a tunable damper in parallel with an inerter. This new suspension form brings great potential for further optimization of suspension dynamics but is rarely researched before. In this paper, the influence of the energy harvesting shock absorber (EHSA) on the railway vehicle dynamics performance is studied. A ten-degree of freedom vehicle model is established, with MMR shock absorber’s nonlinearity taken into account, with the purpose to analyze the influence of the EHSA on the ride comfort and wheel-rail vertical forces. Simulations are conducted by replacing the traditional shock absorber from train secondary suspension with the EHSA. Results show that EHSA could respectively harvest 180 W and 40 W average power at AAR 6th and 5th rail irregularity. In addition, compared with the traditional shock absorber, the MMR-EHSA can provide a higher ride comfort for passengers and slightly reduce the wheel-rail contact force.

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