If you’ve ever seen an electric rail engine, you’ll see that it gets its electricity from the overhead wires via Pantograph. So the issue is, what exactly is Pantograph?
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Pantograph is a series of articulated arms attached to the engine’s top. It spreads out and stretches vertically. The pantograph’s horizontal end component is known as the head. This head features a carbon strip. Their number and kind are determined by the type and strength of the current to be conveyed, which is either AC or DC. Along the catenary contact wire, these carbon strips capture the electricity needed to power the engine’s traction motors.
Catenary is more complicated than a standard electrical cable. Messenger cables, contact wires, droppers, steady arms, and tension devices make up the system. A set of masts supports all of these elements at regular intervals. The catenary’s architecture is designed to ensure that, even at high speeds, continuity between the catenary contact wire and the pantograph is maintained.
The overhead line wire is so heavy that when suspended between two places, it does not form a straight line but sinks due to its weight. To achieve faster speeds and maintain continuous contact between the catenary and the pantograph head, avoiding excessive power loss, the catenary contact wire must be kept horizontal. It must also be stiff enough to interact with the pantograph in a dynamic manner.
Droppers are used to sustain the contact wire at regular intervals. The contact wire is kept in a horizontal axis with a controlled amount of stiffness thanks to these droppers and tensioning loads. The lengths of these droppers vary depending on numerous criteria, such as the tensioning loads of the contact and messenger wires or their mechanical properties.