Designing and assessing wheel/rail profiles for improved rolling contact fatigue and wear performance

A quick survey of wheel and rail profiles used around the world reveals a huge range of options. Wheels come in cylindrical, conical, and concave variations, while rails range in shape from a very flat 14 in. (350?mm) head radius to a tightly crowned 6 in. (150?mm) head radius. The rationale for implementing one or the other is often institutional inertia—a strong tendency to continue doing what has been done in the past. But the impacts of wheel and rail profiles on the performance of the vehicle/track interaction are large and the decision should not be made lightly. Unfortunately, there are few well-matched “off-the-shelf” solutions from the existing commercially available profiles, such that new rails and wheels often suffer early failures or infant mortality. Through examples and case studies, this paper discusses the significant role that wheel and rail profiles play with respect to performance and safety and makes the case for wheel and rail profiles specifically suited to the needs of each railway. Various techniques for assessing the performance of systems of wheels and rails are reviewed and discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01644301
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2017 10:07AM