High speed rails. Fatigue behaviour
Keywords:pearlitic steels, aluminothermic weld, rails, fatigue behavior.
In recent years, passanger train speed and freight train load have increased to enhance efficiency of rail road transportation. These trends have increased the severity of rail service conditions, calling for rails with greager wear resistance, strength and fatigue behavior. In the United States and Europe, track site weld rails are made entirely by alumino thermic process. This work describe the results of experimental study conducted on bending fatigue strength of plain rails and alumino thermic welded rails with preheating procedures (oxipropane and air-induced propane) approved by railways authorities. Compliance with the required fatigue strength shall be ascertained by 4 point pulsating bending test in accordance with European standard by alumino thermic weld in rails. The Locati method, based in the empirical Miner's law about the cumulative damage on a fatigue tested material, allows, once known the Wohler curve of the welding process in use to settle the fatigue tensile limit at 50% with only one test. The values obtained at 2.10 cycles for plain rails (Sf = 353 MPa), oxipropane preheated aluminothermic weld rails (Sf = 225 MPa), and propane-air induced aluminothermic weld rails (Sf = 210 MPa) are very similar to those resulting from test method stated in the European Standard. From our point of view and due to its ease, speediness and savings, this is the most suitable test to check the quality and compare the aluminothermic processes in use.
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