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Visualisation and modelling to understand rail rolling contact fatigue cracks in three-dimensions

Garnham, John E, Fletcher, David I, Davis, Claire L and Franklin, Francis J (2011) Visualisation and modelling to understand rail rolling contact fatigue cracks in three-dimensions. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 225 (2). pp. 165-178. ISSN 0954-4097

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The paper presents an extensive survey of experimental data on rolling contact fatigue (RCF) crack shape and propagation characteristics in rails removed from service, where such cracks are angled to the rail axis. The data includes re-analysis of previously published experimental data to extract crack shape information and new experimental work on crack shapes at different stages in the early RCF life. Periods from initiation (ratcheted 'flake cracks') have been considered through very early growth to the limit of one prior austenite (PA) grain and on to rail-head visual cracks. Techniques included multi-sectioning through single cracks and crack zones, on used rail and test discs, to build up real 3D data on crack shapes and propagation characteristics. This data has been compared with the UK rail system guidance charts relating to visual crack length and respective vertical depth; all data fell within the indicated guidance zones. The configuration of such angled cracks, typically found in curves, so aligned due to the vector of both lateral and longitudinal traction, rather than just axially, was identified as an important case for modelling. A fracture mechanics based model has been developed to predict mode I and II stress intensity factors for such cracks covering multiple PA grains. An important geometry effect is revealed by which a contact approaching a crack angled to the rail axis is effectively 'offset' from the approach direction considered in 2D models, thereby resulting in lower predicted peak stress intensity factor values, compared with 2D, for the prediction of crack growth rates.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Rail steel, RCF cracks, Crack 3D shape, Crack growth modelling
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Department of Mechanical Engineering (Sheffield)
Funding Information:
FunderGrant number
Depositing User: Dr D I Fletcher
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2011 16:22
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 01:24
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2041301710JRRT414
Status: Published
Publisher: Sage
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1177/2041301710JRRT414
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43164

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