Dynamic Fracture Toughness of Rail Steels

by R. J. Dexter,
M. F. Kanninen,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Materials and Member Behavior


As new premium alloy rail steels exhibit increased wear resistance and as track lubrication is used, the failure mode for rails is shifting from wear to fatigue. Elastodynamic finite element analyses of full-section rail impact experiments revealed that both residual stress and material toughness effect the crack jump length. Further analyses using a beam-on-elastic-foundation model of a split rail provided a simple relation between the rail web residual stresses and the crack driving force. It was concluded that a near balance can exist between the crack driving force arising from the residual stresses induced by conventional straightening procedures and the dynamic fracture toughness values of some rail steels. Therefore, a fast running crack, however initiated, could possibly be driven by residual stress alone.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Toughness | Rail transportation | Steel | Dynamic structural analysis | Railroad tracks | Finite element method | Structural steel

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