Effect of creepages on stress intensity factors of rolling contact fatigue cracks

Yiping Wu, Chung Lun Pun, Pu Huang, Darrien Welsby, Peter Mutton, Anna Paradowska, Wenyi Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In heavy-haul railway systems, the experience of high traction force of rails in curved tracks significantly accelerates the rolling contact fatigue crack growth. The overall level of traction force and its detailed distribution within a contact patch can be determined by the extent of wheel slips in different directions, also referred to as creepage. However, few studies have focused on quantifying the influence of creepage on rolling contact fatigue crack growth behaviour. In this paper, a numerical method is proposed to investigate the non-proportional mixed-mode rolling contact fatigue crack growth behaviour in the presence of severe longitudinal, lateral and spin creepages. To partially validate the proposed numerical method, the predicted crack growth directions on the rail surface are compared with the cracking patterns obtained from field observations. A parametric study is also conducted to further quantify the influence of different creepage combinations on the evolution of stress intensity factors at the crack front. Results show that both lateral and spin creepages can significantly affect the phase and maximum magnitude of KII and KIII during one complete loading cycle. Moreover, the increase of spin creepage is found to have a more detrimental effect on overall RCF crack driving force than the increase of the other two creepage components.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109477
Number of pages17
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Crack growth direction
  • Creepage
  • Rolling contact fatigue
  • Stress intensity factor
  • XFEM

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