Prediction of plastic deformation and wear in railway crossings – Comparing the performance of two rail steel grades
Journal article, 2019

Railway crossings are subjected to a severe load environment leading to damage and degradation of rail profiles. The damage is the result of the high magnitudes of contact pressure and slip generated in the wheel–rail contacts during each wheel transition between wing rail and crossing nose. In this paper, numerical predictions of the long-term accumulation of plastic deformation and wear are presented and compared for two rail grades used in crossings. The comparison is performed using a framework that includes simulations of dynamic vehicle–track interaction, wheel–rail contact and rail damage. A load sequence generated by means of Latin hypercube sampling, taking into account variations in worn wheel profile, vehicle speed and wheel–rail friction coefficient, is considered. A Hertzian-based metamodel for wheel–rail normal contact accounting for inelastic material response is used for the simulation of wheel–rail contact. The methodology is demonstrated by calculating the plastic deformation for one cross-section of the crossing nose using an Ohno-Wang cyclic plasticity model, while wear is predicted by means of the Archard model for sliding wear. For the studied conditions and after the simulation of 41400 load cycles, representing an accumulated traffic load of 0.8 MGT, it is concluded that the fine-pearlitic rail grade R350HT experiences half of the ratchetting strain compared to the austenitic hot-rolled manganese steel Mn13. Based on a wear model calibrated for Mn13, the maximum wear of the studied cross-section is about 2% of the maximum plastic deformation.

Dynamic vehicle–track interaction


Switches & crossings

Plastic deformation




Rostyslav Skrypnyk

Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC)

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Magnus Ekh

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC)

Jens Nielsen

Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC)

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Björn Pålsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Dynamics

Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC)


0043-1648 (ISSN)

Vol. 428-429 302-314

Influence of anisotropy on deterioration of rail materials (CHARMEC MU34)

European Commission (EC), 2015-05-18 -- 2020-05-15.

Chalmers Railway Mechanics (CHARMEC), 2015-05-18 -- 2020-05-15.

Research into enhanced tracks, switches and structures (In2Track)

Swedish Transport Administration (TRV2016/50535), 2016-09-01 -- 2019-06-30.

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/730841), 2016-12-01 -- 2020-12-31.

Subject Categories


Applied Mechanics

Vehicle Engineering


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)



More information

Latest update

3/2/2022 2