Technical Reports

The Comparative Wear Performance of Premium and Bainitic Rail Steels under Heavy Axle Loads

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 2000
AUTHOR: Kevin J. Sawley, Rafael Jimenez
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: R-941
SUBJECT: Rail and Infrastructure Integrity
KEYWORDS: Pearlitic Steel, Bainitic Steel, Wear Analysis
ABSTRACT: The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads has conducted wear tests on a range of rail steels in a 5-degree curve at the Federal Railroad Administration's Transportation Technology Center (TTC). The tests have included six premium rail steels, supplied by five manufacturers, and an experimental bainitic steel developed by the Association of American Railroads working with the Oregon Graduate Institute. Bainitic steel offers higher levels of hardness and toughness than conventional pearlitic steel used in premium rails, which are nearing their limit of development. Historically, increased rail hardness has led to improved wear resistance, and laboratory wear tests have indicated that high wear resistance can be achieved with high hardness bainitic steels. In these track tests, however, the bainitic steel has shown poorer wear performance than the pearlitic steels but apparent improved resistance to rolling contact fatigue.
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