Investigation on the Contact Fatigue of Railway Wheel Using a Critical Plane Model

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Addis Ababa University


The contact areas between rail and wheel are highly critical to determine the performance of rail vehicles. So, the investigation of this highly stressed interface is important for the study of different damages mechanisms such as surface and sub-surface cracks, plastic deformation and wear. An easy and novel approach that predicts fatigue life and crack orientation is vital for the investigation of wheels against fatigue. This paper aims to investigate rolling contact fatigue (RCF) cracks and fatigue life in railroad wheels using Finite Element Model. The effect of different parameters such as wheel diameter, friction and vertical loads on the fatigue life of the wheel is also thoroughly studied. The proper material model depicting the plastic shakedown, ratchetting and cyclic hardening is used for both the wheel and rail material. The problem is numerically modelled in Abaqus 2020 after the geometry is developed using the CAD section. Implementation of submodelling technique has highly reduced the computation demand. The stress and strain history outputs extracted from the submodel were used to predict fatigue life initiation period using critical plane models. The orientation of critical (crack) plane was found using a novel MATLAB algorithm by searching for a plane with maximum fatigue parameter (FPmax).



RCF, Critical Plane, Fatigue Parameter, Stress and Strain History Outputs, MATLAB, Abaqus