Using standard adhesion tests to characterize performance of material system options for insulated rail joints

Insulated joints (IJs) are often required every few kilometres along railway tracks for signal blocks and rail break detection; practical experience has shown that their life is often a fraction of the life of other track elements on some rail lines subjected to high tonnage freight. This article reports findings from a project conducted to study different bond systems consisting of various combinations of adhesives, fibrous insulators, and rail surface treatments that were of potential interest for increasing the service life of IJs for rail applications. The study was performed in parallel with a finite-element analysis and did not focus on testing real IJs but rather on common adhesion test specimens such as the single lap joint and double cantilever beam configurations. The aim of using these specimens was to simulate potential load and environmental conditions on standard test specimens that were less expensive and easier to construct, test, and analyse. The main goal of the project was to compare a number of combinations of potential IJ components through an extensive test programme. The results highlighted several possible combinations that may warrant further study as actual IJ prototypes. In particular, several material combinations involving materials not currently used by IJ vendors had higher overall performances when compared to currently used combinations, although the extension of improved test specimen performance to actual IJ configurations and service conditions may not follow.


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  • Accession Number: 01357575
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 14 2011 12:41PM