Modelling of Rolling Contact Fatigue of Rails


Article Preview

Rail dark spot defect, also termed as squat failure or shelling, is a rolling contact fatigue failure which occurs frequently on the high speed traffic railway rails. The main goal of this study is to develop a computational model for simulation of the squat phenomena on rails in rail-wheel contact. The proposed computational model consists of two parts: (i) Contact Fatigue Crack Initiation (CFCI) and (ii) Contact Fatigue Crack Propagation (CFCP). The results of proposed unified model enable a computational prediction of a probable number of loading cycles that a wheel-rail system can sustain before development of the initial crack in the rail, as well as the number of loading cycles required for a crack to propagate from initial to critical length, when the final fatigue failure (squat) can be expected to occur.



Key Engineering Materials (Volumes 324-325)

Edited by:

M.H. Aliabadi, Qingfen Li, Li Li and F.-G. Buchholz




G. Fajdiga et al., "Modelling of Rolling Contact Fatigue of Rails", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 324-325, pp. 987-990, 2006

Online since:

November 2006




[1] M. Kaneta, K. Matsuda, K. Marukami and H. Nishikawa: A possible mechanism for rail dark spot defects. Transaction of the ASME, Vol. 120, pp.304-309, (1998).


[2] Fajdiga G., Zafošnik B., Šraml M., Kramberger J., Flašker J.: HIPERTRACK-Final report about the ULJ rolling-contact fatigue simulation activities, Project funded by the European Community under the Competitive and Sustainable Growth, Programme, (2004).

[3] K. L. Johnson: Contact mechanics, Cambridge University Press. (1985).

[4] S. Suresh: Fatigue of materials, Cambridge Univ. Press (Second Edition), Cambridge, (1998).

[5] A. F. Bower: The influence of crack face friction and trapped fluid on surface initiated rolling- contact-fatigue cracks, Journal of Tribology, Vol. 110, p.704−711, (1988).


[6] G. C. Sih: Strain energy density factor applied to mixed-mode crack problems, International Journal of Fracture, Vol. 10, p.305−321, (1974).


[7] Donzella G., Faccoli M., Ghidini A., Mazzu A., Roberti R.: The competitive role of wear and RCF in a rail steel, Engineering Fracture Mechanics 72, pp.287-308, (2005).