Prediction of the Subsurface Crack Growth Lifetime in Railroad Wheel of the Iranian Railway System


Department of Mechanical Engineering KhajehNasir Toosi University


In the last decade, decrease of the wear rate, increase in the axel load, and the velocity of the trains have changed the main damage mechanism of railway wheels from wear to rolling contact fatigue (RCF). RCF may lead to surface and subsurface cracks. The interaction between wear and RCF, removes the surface cracks, but the subsurface crack propagate gradually, and may lead to deeper and more dangerous fractures. In this study, by considering an elliptical subsurface crack, the lifetime of an Iranian railway system wheel has been predicted using FEM, and under RCF condition. To this end, a 3D model of a cracked R7T wheel with 920mm diameter in contact with UIC60 rail has been prepared and analyzed in Abaqus FEM software. The histories of the stress intensity factors of the subsurface crack have been extracted in one cycle wheel rolling. Then, equivalent stress intensity factors have been calculated using Tanaka and Liu-Mahadevan models. Finally, wheel lifetime has been predicted by Walker relation. This paper provides a local criterion of critical crack length and crack growth lifetime that is essential for frequent inspections of railroad wheel.