PhD candidate presents VTSI analysis at national conference

Plot points from Fedorova's research highlighting results from her VTSI analysis.

Plot points from Fedorova's research highlighting results from her VTSI analysis

By Peter Murphy

Published June 26, 2018

Maria Fedorova, a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering presented her research findings at ASCE’s Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) Conference earlier this month.


Fedorova’s research centers on vehicle-track-structure interaction (VTSI) analysis, a critical consideration during the design process of rails for high-speed trains. The analysis results provide time-varying contact forces between the train’s wheel and the rail, and provide information regarding displacements, velocities and accelerations of every object.

VTSI analyses resolve issues with track safety and passenger comfort, and also determine whether or not structures are in compliance with regulations. According to Fedorova’s research, most existing VTSI algorithms either cannot be directly implemented into existing structural analysis software or rely on inefficient procedures. Fedorova collaborated with LARSA, Inc., a structural engineering software developer.

“The algorithm proposed in this research treats the bridge and train as separate objects and couples them by means of kinematic constraints. This approach allows the incorporation of the algorithm into existing software,” says Fedorova, “however, in this case, the obtained system of equations is a system of Differential Algebraic Equations (DAE), and, subsequently, computational issues associated with time-varying kinematic constraints have to be resolved.”

Fedorova is currently working with her advisor, associate professor Mettupalayam Sivaselvan on the interface between the two-dimensional version of her proposed VTSI algorithm and the existing bridge analysis software LARSA 4D. Once the interface is complete, she and Sivaselvan will work with LARSA, Inc. to implement the algorithm.

Fedorova presented her findings at ASCE’s EMI at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) earlier this month. According to EMI’s website, “the conference is the prime venue worldwide for disseminating the most recent progress in engineering mechanics as the core discipline of science-enable civil engineering understood in the broadest sense.”