Numerical simulation of crack growth and wear in rails
Doktorsavhandling, 2012

Wear and rolling contact fatigue (RCF) of rails are huge problems for the railway industry with increased world-wide occurrence during the last decades. It is, therefore, of high interest to develop tools for the prediction of wear and RCF which can be used to estimate rail life. This thesis is concerned with the numerical simulation of rail deterioration due to wear and RCF. The main focus has been on the modeling of crack growth in rails, which has included development of a numerical tool in terms of a 2D Finite Element (FE) model of the rail that can be used to simulate the growth of (short and long) surface cracks in rails. Wear is taken into account through the process of crack truncation (partial removal of the crack). Furthermore, the change in geometry due to crack growth and wear is considered through a remeshing procedure. In the numerical framework, the concept of material forces is adopted from which a crack driving force can be derived. % Based on this crack driving force, numerical procedures for simulation of crack growth under monotonic, cyclic and typical RCF loading have been developed. Different propagation laws have been proposed and used to study crack growth in rails under various loading conditions and crack geometry. The influence of the highly deformed (anisotropic) surface layer, often present in railway rails, on the crack growth direction has also been studied. Results from the numerical simulations indicate that anisotropy has a large influence on the crack growth direction and needs thus be accounted for in order to be able to simulate the growth of surface cracks in rails more accurately. Furthermore, a numerical framework for simulation of rail degradation due to wear and plastic deformations has been developed and implemented. The procedure includes simulations of the wheel--rail dynamics using a Multi Body Simulation (MBS) software, together with detailed FE simulations of the plastic deformations. The procedure was applied for the calibration of a wear coefficient from experiments on a full scale wheel--rail test rig. Quantitatively good agreement was obtained between simulations and results from the full-scale tests in terms of worn-off area and shape of the worn profile.

crack propagation

material forces

Rolling Contact Fatigue


railway mechanics

Room HA2, Hörsalsvägen 4, Chalmers
Opponent: Professor Andreas Menzel, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany


Jim Brouzoulis

Chalmers, Tillämpad mekanik, Material- och beräkningsmekanik

Wear impact on rolling contact fatigue crack growth in rails

Proceedings 9th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems,; (2012)p. 696-705

Paper i proceeding

Crack propagation in rails under rolling contact fatigue loading conditions based on material forces

International Journal of Fatigue,; Vol. 45(2012)p. 98-105

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Strategies for planar crack propagation based on the concept of material forces

Computational Mechanics,; Vol. 47(2011)p. 295-304

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Prediction of Wear and Plastic Flow in Rails - Experimental Test Rig Results, Model Calibration and Numerical Prediction

Proceedings till Svenska Mekanikdagarna 2009 i Södertälje,; (2009)p. 42-

Paper i proceeding

The effect of anisotropy on crack propagation in pearlitic rail steel

9th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems, CM 2012; Chengdu; China; 27 August 2012 through 30 August 2012,; (2012)p. 432-441

Paper i proceeding







Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 3428



Room HA2, Hörsalsvägen 4, Chalmers

Opponent: Professor Andreas Menzel, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany

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