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The resistance of rail to fatigue crack propagation and fracture are discussed. Preliminary results of crack growth calculations are presented to illustrate the correlation of an elementary crack growth model with a full-scale experiment. The possible effects of current trends in railroad operations on safe crack growth life and damage tolerance of rail are noted.
crack growth, fracture, nondestructive inspection, rail, steel alloys, structural integrity, fracture mechanics
Mechanical engineer, U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA
Assistant director, Metallurgy, Association of American Railroads Research and Technical Center, Chicago, IL