Growth of rolling contact fatigue cracks (CHARMEC MU38)
Research Project, 2019 – 2024

Fatigue crack growth, and especially rolling contact fatigue (RCF) crack growth, is the major deterioration factor and one of the foremost cost drivers in railway operations. Therefore extensive research and development efforts have been put into combating and predicting RCF. How different operational factors affect RCF initiation is yet to a large extent known. Also quantification of the magnitude of the influence of different parameters is insufficient. The overall risk of RCF initiation can to a large extent be predicted but predictions of the time to initiation and failure is, however, afflicted with large uncertainties. In particular, there are large uncertainties in the prediction of crack growth in terms of direction of the growth and the rate of propagation. 

The aim of the present project MU38 is to investigate and develop methods to predict crack progression in railway wheels and rails. This includes detailed analyses as well as coarser engineering approaches. Here results from detailed (finite element) analyses can be compared to coarser engineering predictions and increase their quantitative capabilities. Operational data from wheel damage progression and from track demonstrators in Shift2Rail will be employed to further enhance/calibrate/validate numerical analyses.

This is a doctoral project. Mr Mohammad Salahi Nezhad is the doctoral student and Professor Fredrik Larsson the project leader and supervisor. Professors Elena Kabo and Anders Ekberg are assistant supervisors.


Fredrik Larsson (contact)

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

Anders Ekberg

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Elena Kabo

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Mohammad Salahi Nezhad

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics


Abetong AB

Växjö, Sweden

Atkins Sverige AB

Göteborg, Sweden

Bombardier Transportation GmbH

Siegen, Germany

Faiveley Transport Nordic AB

Landskrona, Sweden

Green Cargo AB

Solna, Sweden

Lucchini Sweden AB

Surahammar, Sweden


Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish Transport Administration

Borlänge, Sweden

SweMaint AB

Göteborg, Sweden

voestalpine Schienen GmbH

Leoben, Austria

voestalpine VAE GmbH

Zeltweg, Austria


Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC)

Funding Chalmers participation during 2019–2024

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


Areas of Advance

Materials Science

Areas of Advance


More information

Project Web Page

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