Analysis of rail cooling strategies through numerical simulation with instant calculation of thermal expansion coefficient
Keywords:Residual stresses, Section manufacturing, Thermal expansion coefficient
This article describes a new methodology to simulate the cooling process for an asymmetrical Ri60 grooved rail, designed for city tramways, in a more realistic manner than that conducted previously by other authors for long steel sections. The approach considers the phase transformation of the steel and the forced convection cooling. The process is modelled as an uncoupled thermo-mechanical problem. First, the rail’s temperature history is obtained from a computer fluid dynamic model and subsequently introduced in the finite element model, in order to model the stresses and displacements. This second stage involves the calculation of the thermal expansion coefficient, for each element and at each iteration. The calculation is made according to the continuous cooling transformation diagram. These results lead to the extremely reliable determination of residual stresses as proved by the comparison with experimental data obtained in the industrial plant. The methodology allows for an accurate study of two types of cooling strategies for the Ri60 and the selection of the more suitable one.
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