Electro-mechanical transducer for rail car onboard power

Mark Nagurka, John Tabacchi, William Kaufman, Satoru Simizu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper describes a key component of an onboard power generation system that converts mechanical vibrations into electrical power to support a train's electronically controlled pneumatic brake system. The translational generator acquires its energy from naturally occurring rail car displacements during normal train operation. The generator uses high field strength Nd-Fe-B magnets embedded in an iron-core cup assembly. When the generator is exposed to rail car vibrations, the magnet cup assembly reciprocates with respect to a copper coil. By special design of the magnet assembly, the magnetic flux lines are concentrated and made perpendicular to the coil maximizing the electrical output for a given relative displacement. In this paper the unit's design, development, and construction are reviewed. In addition, the results of laboratory testing to characterize the unit's performance as well as design considerations in meeting the vibrational energy available in a rail car environment are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1996 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, USA
Duration: 17 Nov 199622 Nov 1996


ConferenceProceedings of the 1996 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
CityAtlanta, GA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Mechanical Engineering


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