A practical approach to controlling rolling contact fatigue in railways

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Proceedings titleProceedings, 8th International Heavy Haul Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 14-16, 2005: Safety, environment and productivity
ConferenceThe 8th International Heavy Haul Conference, 14-16 June 2005, Rio de Janeiro
Subjectrolling contact fatigue; friction management; rail grinding; rail and wheel metallurgy; rail and wheel profiles
AbstractRolling contact fatigue (RCF) is a problem for most railways, heavy or light axle load, slow or high speed. A practical strategy for controlling RCF is discussed based on a multi-pronged approach of increasing component resistance to initiation and propagation of RCF, reducing applied stresses that cause RCF, and providing a maintenance regime for both controlling RCF and managing the risk associated with rail or wheel failure due to RCF. RCF is influenced by, and can be controlled by improvements to, the wheel profiles, rail profiles, wheel and rail metallurgy, gauge-face and top-of-rail friction coefficients, track geometry standards, and rolling stock characteristics. Mitigation can include wholesale changes to one parameter or selective and more modest changes to several parameters. Since RCF is a threshold phenomena, even a small reduction in the stresses, or modest increase in the strength of the component, can dramatically reduce the number of contact cycles that promote fatigue. For any given railway, the most appropriate approach to controlling fatigue will depend on its specific operating and maintenance strategies.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Centre for Surface Transportation Technology; NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23000274
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Record identifierabebb881-9303-47dd-8ce7-692c007986e6
Record created2016-06-30
Record modified2016-06-30
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