Technical Reports

Fracture Resistance of Railroad Wheels

  • 01
  • Sep
  • 1974
AUTHOR: C.S. Carter, R.G. Caton
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-30
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-75/12
KEYWORDS: Railroad wheels; Carbon steels; Fracture mechanics; Fracture toughness; Failure analysis
ABSTRACT: The effects of manufacturing method, chemical composition, heat treatment, temperature, and loading rate on the plane strain fracture toughness KIC of railroad wheels have been determined. Carbon content of the wheels is shown to be the principal factor which controls their toughness. One hundred wheels which fractured in service are analyzed by means of fracture mechanics procedures. The locations, configurations, and size of thermal and plate cracks which initiated brittle fracture are reviewed, and estimates made of the stress levels which resulted in failure. Estimates have been made of the minimum size of crack which could result in the failure of wheels under adverse service conditions. These are discussed with respect to the minimum size of defect which can be reliably detected by NDT.

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