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Assessment of Fatigue Cracks in Rails

Lookup NU author(s): Dr George Kotsikos, Marzio Grasso


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The fatigue behaviour of cracks at the foot region of a rail subjected to bending load has been investigated. Depending on the position of initiation of a small semi-elliptical surface crack in a rail, the crack front changes shape during propagation to failure due to the large variation of the stress intensity factor from point to point round the crack front due to differences in the local stress field as each point round the crack front lies at different distances from the neutral axis of the rail. This condition implies a variable crack growth rate that transforms the crack front shape during fatigue crack propagation. SIF values have been estimated by means of both the finite element method and analytical solutions derived for a semi-elliptical crack in a finite rectangular cross-section beam. The SIF value predictions obtained with the two methods show good agreement suggesting that the analytical solutions can be used for a rapid assessment of the severity of a flaw in a rail. A predictive model for crack growth has been derived for an initial small crack at an initiation point at the foot/web corner of a rail tested under four point bending fatigue in the laboratory, showing a reasonably good prediction of both the shape and size of the crack at failure when compared with experiment. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of the Programme Committee of the Transport Research Arena 2012

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kotsikos G, Grasso M

Editor(s): Papaioannou, P.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Conference on Transport Research Arena

Year of Conference: 2012

Pages: 1395-1402

ISSN: 1877-0428

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.1115

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Procedia Social and Behavioral Science