Affiliations: [a] School of Railway Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
Corresponding author: Parisa Hosseini Tehrani, School of Railway Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Narmak Avenue, PO. Box 16488-15914, Tehran, Iran. Tel.: +98 2177491029; Fax: +98 2177491030; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: One of the main reasons for mechanical failures in railway structures is attributed to the propagation of defects and cracks. Exact prediction of crack growth in rails and wheels may lead to solutions to reduce damages, improve efficiency and facilitate maintenance. In this paper, the driving force of surface cracks on the rail under contact forces caused by wheel movement on the rail is investigated. The contact problem of the rails and wheels is simulated by a 2D model in finite element software and the elastic–plastic material model is considered for the rail. In order to calculate the crack driving force, the configurational force method is used to accurately predict the crack behavior and rail damage in plastic dominated zones. The parametric results of load, slip, size, crack orientation and the influence of interaction of cracks are studied for the surface cracks in rail and crack growth path and driving forces are estimated for inclined and vertical cracks. It is shown that the inclined cracks are more prone to propagation than vertical cracks under the same contact loading of rails and wheels.