Ultrasonic Waves for Effective Assessment of Wheel-Rail Contact Anomalies

A recent study proposed a new application of the ultrasonic technique to investigate the main features of the wheel-rail contact interface such as nominal contact area, real contact area, and contact pressure distribution. On the grounds of the promising results obtained in the previous tests, the present study proposes a further practical approach to common problems of wheel-rail contact that possibly affect the regular development of railway operations. To this end, a number of wheel-rail systems were altered by artificially producing several kinds of defects on their surfaces and thus obtained couplings were then analyzed by the ultrasonic method in order to assess the capability of the technique to faithfully reproduce the modification introduced in the contact patch. The results of the experimental tests indicate that the ultrasonic analysis of wheel-rail contact interfaces can be effectively employed to detect any sort of irregularities, either flaws or bad alignments of contacting elements, potentially present due to normal operations. The method could also be used as a tool to ensure significant improvements in safety conditions by monitoring critical points of a railway line.


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  • Accession Number: 01003991
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 20 2005 9:54PM