TU Delft has appointed Zili Li as Professor in his field Rail Systems & Monitoring at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.

Dr Li has been working in the field of Railway Engineering since 2005 and has become an internationally leading expert in the field of contact mechanics and monitoring. After receiving his PhD from TU Delft and returning there after six years at TNO, Dr Li was the Railway Engineering group leader between Professor Esveld’s departure (2006) and Professor Dollevoet’s arrival in 2012. He passionately kept the Railway Engineering research group running and expanded his own line. He laid the foundations for what is now the Railway Engineering research group.

Theory and practice

Since 2010, Dr Li has focused more on the fundamental girders and now regularly publishes in scientific magazines. Alongside these theoretical results, Dr Li emphatically focuses on the validation and optimisation of numeric models through experimental work on railway lines and in the laboratory.
What makes Dr Li’s expertise so exceptional is that he manages to link the physical phenomena and the required numerical models (scientific theory and engineering). He thereby connects the two worlds of wheels and rails. That is globally unique.

Accelerated wear and tear on railway lines

Zili Li has initiated, funded and built an endurance test bed in CEG’s basement. This so-called wheel-rail set-up can accelerate both wheel and rail wear and tear – a week on the test bed equals a year on a railway line.

Read more on Zili Li’s research in Stories of Science