General purpose railway tank cars similar to road tankers are known to transport liquid cargo in partial-fill state due to variations in liquid cargo density and governing axle load limits. It is widely reported that the cargo movements constitute additional forces and moments that could strongly affect the wheel-rail interactions and coupling forces, and thereby the directional dynamics of the wagon. In this study, the linear slosh theory is used to describe the liquid cargo movement in the roll plane by a simple pendulum, which is integrated into a comprehensive nonlinear multi-body model of a three-piece truck to study the effects of liquid cargo slosh on lateral dynamics of the tank car. The model also incorporates the nonlinear secondary suspension restoring and damping forces, attributed to friction of the wedges, using the non-smooth contact method in addition to the geometric constraints of various components. The wheel/rail contact forces are simulated considering non-elliptical wheel-rail contact using the FASTSIM algorithm. The lateral dynamic responses of the multi-body model of a freight car with partially filled liquid load and an equivalent rigid cargo are evaluated to study the effect of cargo movement on the critical speed and the wheelset hunting oscillations frequency. The results obtained considering different fill ratios of the liquid cargo suggest that the fluid slosh yields additional damping effect on the lateral dynamics of the car. Liquid cargo movement within partly-filled tank car could thus yield a beneficial influence on the wheelset hunting. This was evidenced from the phase relationship between the lateral oscillations of the pendulum and the bogie/wheelset. Consequently, a partially filled tanker resulted in relatively higher critical hunting velocity compared to that of the wagon with equivalent rigid cargo.

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