STP1332: Residual Stress Effects in Railroad Rail Fatigue

    Fry, GT
    Assistant professor, associate professor, and graduate research assistant, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

    Jones, HL
    Assistant professor, associate professor, and graduate research assistant, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

    Jones, SL
    Assistant professor, associate professor, and graduate research assistant, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

    Pages: 12    Published: Jan 1999


    Abstract

    Subsurface, and thus invisible, rail-head fatigue defects are sometimes the first link in a chain of events leading to train derailment. This paper presents critical-plane fatigue analyses of the head region of railroad rail. Particular attention is given to assessing the role of residual stresses in the fatigue crack nucleation process. The results of the analyses suggest that nucleation of rail-head defects occurs preferentially in a material region below the running surface of the rail: a fact borne out by field observations. Analytically, subsurface nucleation can be explained by the presence of subsurface tensile residual stresses which counterbalance surficial compressive residual stresses. Based on the results from the fatigue study, an analysis of rail grinding is discussed in the context of preventing the formation of subsurface rail-head fatigue defects.

    Keywords:

    railroad rail, rolling contact, metallic fatigue, multiaxial fatigue, critical-plane approaches, residual stresses, rail grinding


    Paper ID: STP14973S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.06

    DOI: 10.1520/STP14973S


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