Short rolling contact fatigue and thermal cracks under frictional rolling - A comparison through simulations
Journal article, 2015

The relative severity of radial (thermal) and inclined rolling contact fatigue surface cracks of equal depth in a railway wheel is investigated by three-dimensional elastoplastic finite element analyses of a cracked wheel sector subjected to contact loading. Response is quantified by relative displacements of nodes close to crack tip and at the crack mouth. Highly inclined cracks give the highest magnitudes of crack tip shear displacements, which is the dominant deformation mode. Braking conditions are found to open the crack mouth. Initially higher temperatures on thermal cracks cause increased crack tip deformation and opening of the crack, whereafter subsequent mechanical load cycles impose crack closure.

Elastoplastic finite element simulations

Railway wheel

Crack tip displacement

Thermal crack

Rolling contact fatigue crack


Sara Caprioli


Engineering Fracture Mechanics

0013-7944 (ISSN)

Vol. 141 260-273

Subject Categories

Mechanical Engineering

Vehicle Engineering



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