Thermomechanical cracking of railway wheel treads: a combined experimental and numerical approach
Paper in proceedings, 2015
In the present study, thermal cracking of railway wheel treads is studied by full-scale brake rig tests and finite element simulations. The focus is on thermomechanical rolling contact fatigue (RCF) life predictions. The wheel tread material is subjected to simultaneous mechanical and thermal loads due to rolling contact and stop braking, respectively. Full-scale tests featuring three series of repeated stop braking cases have been performed at the Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) in Japan in a brake rig featuring a tread braked wheel that is in rolling contact with a railwheel. The brake rig test conditions have been simulated numerically using the finite element method. To this end, the effect of “hot bands” on the tread is accounted for as indicated by the experimental findings. Thermomechanical stresses induced by braking as well as Hertzian contact loading on the tread including tractive loads based on a partial slip assumption are considered. The mechanical response of the wheel material ER7 is obtained from a viscoplastic Chaboche material model calibrated against data from cyclic experiments with hold-time from room temperatures up to 650 °C. Finally, a strategy for prediction of fatigue life with respect to ratcheting failure is discussed.