Prof.dr. Z. Li

Prof.dr. Z. Li


Dr. Li has broad national and international collaboration with academic and industrial partners. Since 2005 when he joined the group, he has acquired more than 5.6 million Euro search funding from the Dutch national funding organizations for scientific and technological research NOW and STW, the European Commission (EC), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the Dutch railway Infra Manager ProRail and operator NS. Some of the projects are:

·         DrTrack – Detection and diagnosis of railway track short wave anomalies (STW)

·         Admire – Advanced monitoring of intelligent rail infrastructure (STW)

·         Prime – Development of high-performance rail through intelligent metallurgy & engineering (STW)

·         Pyramids – Multi-party risk management and key performance indicator design at the whole system level (NOW)

·         Guideline to best practice of squat treatment, (UIC, International Union of Railways).

·         PMnIDEA - Predictive Maintenance employing Non-intrusive Inspection & Data Analysis (EC FP6)

·         InnoTrack - Innovative Track Systems (EC FP7)

·         AdRem – Adhesion Remedy (Dutch Railways NS and ProRail)

·         Control Rolling Contact Fatigue Damages (ProRail)

·         Root causes of squats (ProRail)

·         Control squats (ProRail)

·         Development of measurement system based on axle box acceleration for early detection of squats (ProRail)

·         Optimization of wheel and rail profiles (ProRail)

·         Squats analysis (ProRail)

·         Track degradation monitoring (ProRail)

·         Wheel-rail interaction (ProRail)

·         Rail short wave defects (ProRail)

[1]   Maria Molodova, Zili Li, Alfredo Nunez, and Rolf Dollevoet, "Parameter Study of the Axle Box Acceleration at Squats," Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit 0954409714523583, first published on February 24, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0954409714523583

[2]   Arjen Zoeteman, Zili Li, and Rolf Dollevoet, "Dutch research results in Wheel Rail Interface Management: 2001-2013 and beyond," Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit 0954409714524379, first published on March 7, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0954409714524379

[3]   M. Molodova, Z. Li, A. Núñez and R. Dollevoet, Automatic Detection of Squats in Railway Infrastructure, Accepted for publication in IEEE transactions on Intelligent Transportion Systems, Doi: 10.1109/TITS.2014.2307955

[4]   X. Zhao and Z. Li, A 3-D finite element solution of frictional wheelrail rolling contact in elasto-plasticity, submitted to Journal of Engineering Tribology for publication.

[5]   X. Zhao, Z. Li and R. DollevoetInfluence of the fastening modelling on the vehicle-track interaction at singular rail surface defects, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics, Doi: 10.1115/1.4025895

[6]   X. Zhao, Z. Li and R. Dollevoet, The vertical and the longitudinal dynamic responses of the vehicle–track system to squat-type short wavelength irregularity, Vehicle System Dynamics, DOI:10.1080/00423114.2013.847466.

[7]   O. Arias-Cuevas and Z. Li: Field Investigations into the Performance of Magnetic Track Brakes of an Electrical Multiple Unit against Slippery Tracks. Part II: Braking Force and Side Effects, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 226(2012), 72 – 94.

[8]   X. Zhao, Z. Li and J. Liu, Wheel-rail impact and the dynamic forces at discrete supports of rails in the presence of singular rail surface defects, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 226 (2012), 124 - 139.

[9]   X. Zhao and Z. Li, The solution of frictional wheel–rail rolling contact with a 3D transient finite element model: Validation and error analysis, Wear 271 (2011), 444 – 452.

[10]   Z. Li, R. Dollevoet, M. Molodova and X. Zhao, Squat growth–some observations and the validation of numerical predictions, Wear 271 (2011), 148 – 157.

[11]   M. Molodova, Z. Li and R. Dollevoet, Axle box acceleration: Measurement and simulation for detection of short track defects, Wear 271 (2011), 349 – 356.

[12]   O. Arias-Cuevas, Z. Li and R. Lewis: A Laboratory Investigation on the Influence of the Particle Size and Slip During Sanding on the Adhesion and Wear in the Wheel-Rail Contact, Wear 271 (2011), 14 – 24.   

Dr. Li is member of the editorial board of these journals

-       International Journal of Rail Transportation

-       International Journal of Railway Technology

-       Advances in Mechanical Engineering

-       Journal of Transport Engineering (In Chinese)

-       William Alexander Agnew Meritorious Award/Clarence Noel Goodall Award, by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on 24th of September, 2012, for the paper Field investigations into the performance of magnetic track brakes of an electrical multiple unit against slippery tracks. Part 1: Adhesion improvement, authored by Osoar Arias-Cuevas and Zili Li, published in Proc. IMechE, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 225 (2011) 613 – 636.

-       Best student paper award (1st place, to my PhD student Marija Molodova), for the paper by Marija Molodova, Zili Li, Alfredo Nunez and Rolf Dollevoet, Monitoring the railway infrastructure: Detection of surface defects using wavelets, presented at the IEEE 16th International Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference, 7 – 9 October, 2013, the Hague, the Netherlands.

-       Best student paper award (to my PhD student X. Zhao), for the paper by Zhao, X., Li, Z., Esveld, C. and Dollevoet, R., The Dynamic Stress State of the Wheel-Rail Contact, presented at the 2nd IASME/WSEAS International Conference on Continuum Mechanics, 15-17 May, 2007, Portoroz, Slovenia, 127-133.

- Young Innovation Award, 2nd place, Rail-Tech 2015 Conference and Exhibition, to my PhD student Meysam Naeimi, for his design of a new wheel-rail contact test rig for rolling contact fatigue testing, 19 March, 2015.

- Innovation Research Award to Maria Molodova for her PhD thesis under my supervision. Awarded by the Dutch Institute of World Class Maintenance, 8 Oct. 2014.

- UIC Young Researchers Award to my PhD student Maider Oregui for her PhD thesis work, 3 December, 2014, UIC (International Union of Railways, with all the major railways of the would being its members), Paris.


Dr. Li obtained his BSc and MCs degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China, in 1988 and 1991, respectively. He obtained his PhD degree in Computational Mechanics on numerical solution of rolling contact at Delft University of Technology in 2002. He worked between 1999 and 2005 at TNO, the Dutch organization for applied sciences, on multibody dynamics and finite element methods, as well as their applications in crashworthiness. He joined the group of Railway Engineering in 2005. He is currently full professor of Rail Systems and Monitoring.


  • Wheel-rail contact mechanics: friction, rolling, adhesion; in statics, in continuum dynamics, in coupled wheel-track interaction system.
  • Wear: simulation and experiment.
  • Rolling contact fatigue (RCF): initiation and development; loading conditions; damage mechanisms and relation with micro-structure of materials; magic wear rate and RCF; profile design for wheels and rails.
  • Vehicle dynamics and train-track interaction: Application of advanced wheel-rail contact models; train-S&C interaction; derailment; modeling of flexible track.
  • Health monitoring and asset management: instrumentation and signal processing; life cycle costs management; key performance indicators.
  • Field and laboratory experiments and tests: design, instrumentation, data acquisition and processing; train-borne and track side; strain gage, accelerometers; laser Doppler vibrometery scan, fixed and on moving frame.
  • Modelling: multi-body dynamics (MB) for vehicle dynamics; train-track interaction; crash worthiness; boundary element method (BEM) and finite element method (FEM) for contact mechanics and crash worthiness. Virtual testing.
  • Translation of scientific research findings into engineering applications.

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