Technical Reports

Determination of Residual Stresses in Rails

  • 01
  • May
  • 1983
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration; J.J. Groom
SUBJECT: Fatigue Management, Track, Tracks & Structures, Track/Train Interactions
KEYWORDS: Fatigue, Rail stress
ABSTRACT: A destructive sectioning technique for measuring the complete three-dimensional residual stresses in a rail cross section was developed. The technique was applied to four tangent rail specimens: two 136-pound specimens were taken from FAST (Facility for Accelerated Service Testing), Pueblo, Colorado [83 and 270 MGT (million gross tons)] and two 132-pound specimens were obtained from revenue service (100 and 300 MGT). The results show that: 1) high compressive stresses exist in and near the tread surface of the rail, particularly near the edges of the wear pattern where the plastic flow of metal is extreme; 2) high tensile stresses are found just below the tread surface with peak stresses near the edges of the tread wear pattern; and 3) for the traffic ranges examined (83 to 300 MGT), the tensile stresses internal to the rail head increased with increasing MGT