3D characterisation of RCF crack networks
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) damage is becoming more frequent with increased traffic and loading conditions in the railway industry. Defects which are characterized by a two-lobe darkened surface and a V-shaped surface-breaking crack are often so-called squats. The origination and propagation of squats in railway rails is the topic of many recent studies; the associated crack networks develop with complicated geometry near the surface of rails that is difficult to characterise using most non-destructive methods. The cracks can be examined with repeated metallographic sectioning, but the process is time-consuming and destructive. In order to reduce time, as well as information and material loss, high-resolution and high-energy X-ray imaging of railway rails was done in the current study. Combining the exposures from a range of angles using image analysis, a 3D representation of the complex crack network is achieved. The latter was complemented with metallographic sectioning to determine the accuracy of prediction of the geometrical reconstruction.