Cyclic plastic deformation of rails in rolling/sliding contact –quasistatic FE calculations using different plasticity models
Journal article, 2019

A quasistatic FE model for calculating plastic deformations of railway rails caused by rolling/sliding wheels is introduced. A method for transferring 3D loads to 2D rolling models is shown, and its limitations are demonstrated. The necessary mesh size and rolling length are derived for an efficient modelling of many cycles. The model uses three different material models for the rail: a Chaboche-type model, and two hyperelasto-plastic models. Main results of the model are accumulated equivalent plastic strains PEEQ and plastic longitudinal displacements ux. For similar loads, 2D models calculate severely higher PEEQ and ux values than the 3D models. Calculations are done for up to 1400 cycles and differences in the modelling of the rail material are shown.

Shear deformation

Rolling contact fatigue

Finite element modelling



Martin Pletz

Montanuniversität Leoben

Knut Andreas Meyer

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

David Künstner

voestalpine Schienen GmbH

Stephan Scheriau

voestalpine Schienen GmbH

Werner Daves

Montanuniversität Leoben

Materials Center Leoben Forschung GmbH


0043-1648 (ISSN)

Vol. 436–437 202992

Research into enhanced track and switch and crossing system 2 (In2Track-2)

Swedish Transport Administration, 2018-11-01 -- 2021-10-31.

European Commission (EC) (EC/H2020/826255), 2018-11-01 -- 2021-10-31.

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

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

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

Areas of Advance


Materials Science

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)



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