Effect of head wear and lateral forces on underhead radius crack propagation

This paper investigated the effect of rail head wear (HW) and lateral forces on underhead radius stress conditions and resulting stress intensity factors (SIFs) of a long transverse crack. The occurrence of tension spikes at the underhead radius of the rail as a result of localised vertical and lateral bending of the head-on-web was significantly exacerbated with increasing rail HW. The extended finite element method (X-FEM) modelling, which had previously been validated by comparison with in-track measurements to verify the prediction of tension spikes, was used to model a single rail on discrete elastic foundations. SIFs along the crack front were parametrically evaluated in terms of changes in the contact patch offset (CPO), the (L/V) ratio of lateral (L) to vertical (V) loads, the rail HW, and crack size and shape. The X-FEM results revealed that for a long transverse crack, extending the crack length to the underhead radius position results in higher SIFs across the underhead radius as a result of tensile bending stresses. These higher SIFs can contribute to a massively higher crack growth rate at this location, as was evidenced by the crack growth morphology at the underhead radius.


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  • Accession Number: 01535374
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2014 12:39PM