Using dynamic finite element methods, a temporal study of the dynamic response of a 2D mechanical model composed of a deformable rotating disc (wheel) in contact with a deformable translating body (rail) with constant Coulomb friction is presented. Under global sliding conditions, instabilities at specific frequencies appear in the contact patch even in the case of a constant friction coefficient. The influence of parameters such as global sliding ratio, friction coefficient and transient value of applied sliding on local contact conditions is evaluated. A parallel is then drawn between the frequencies of these instabilities and the modal analysis of the entire mechanical model. Finally, consequences of these instabilities on local rail plastification are presented and correlated with rail corrugation appearing on straight tracks under acceleration or deceleration conditions.

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