Technical Reports

Thermal Buckling of Straight Tracks: Fundamentals, Analyses, and Preventive Measures

  • 01
  • Sep
  • 1978
AUTHOR: Arnold D. Kerr
KEYWORDS: Thermal Forces in Track, Track Maintenance, Railroad Track
ABSTRACT: This report, written mainly for the practicing railroad engineer, explains the phenomenon of thermal buckling of straight tracks, shows how to analyze it, and describes measures for preventing it. Following an introductory discussion of track buckling problems caused by a temperature increase in the rails, the report describes the distribution of axial forces in the track rails caused by temperature changes. It reviews briefly track buckling test results obtained by a number of railroads. The method of analysis for the determination of a "safe temperature' increase," recently developed by the author, is then discussed. To simplify the use of this analysis, the results are presented graphically for a wide range of track parameters, and the use of the presented graphs is demonstrated with examples. It is shown how the graphs may also be used for the determination of the rail installation temperature. 'The paper concludes with a description of track tests for obtaining the needed parameters, and a discussion of measures adopted by various railroads to prevent thermal track buckling.