Prediction of rolling contact fatigue life based on ratcheting analysis

Chung Lun Pun, Qianhua Kan, Peter Mutton, Guozheng Kang, Wenyi Yan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


The ratcheting performance of a hypereutectoid high strength rail steel under different wheel-rail cyclic rolling contact conditions, rolling, partial slip, and full slip conditions, and different axle loads, was numerically evaluated by the prediction of crack initiation life based on a comprehensive ratcheting analysis. The wheel-rail cyclic rolling contact was simulated by repeatedly passing a distributed contact pressure and a distributed tangential traction on the rail surface. This study combined the non-Hertzian contact pressure from finite element analysis with the longitudinal tangential traction from Carter's theory to simulate the wheel-rail cyclic rolling contact problems. A cyclic plasticity material model considering the non-proportionally loading effect developed recently by the authors was applied to simulate the ratcheting behaviour of the rail steel. The crack initiation life of the rail steel was determined from the stabilized ratcheting strain rate and the ductility limit of the rail steel. The numerical results indicate that the crack initiation life of the rail steel decreases with the increase of the normalized tangential traction and the axle load. The results indicate that the influence of axle load on the crack initiation life of the studied rail steel is insignificant. The developed approach has the capacity to evaluate the ratcheting performance of other rail steels under service loading conditions. The outcomes can provide useful information to the development and application of rail steels and the development of effective rail maintenance strategies in order to mitigate rail degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems (CM 2015)
Subtitle of host publicationColorado Springs, United States, 30 August 2015 - 3 September 2015 [proceedings]
PublisherInternational Conference on Contact Mechanics of Wheel / Rail Systems
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems 2015 - Colorado Springs, United States of America
Duration: 30 Aug 20153 Sep 2015
Conference number: 10th


ConferenceInternational Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems 2015
Abbreviated titleCM 2015
CountryUnited States of America
CityColorado Springs
Internet address

Cite this