Using vibrations to detect high wear rates in rolling contact fatigue tests

Matteo Lancini, Ileana Bodini, David Vetturi, Simone Pasinetti, Angelo Mazzù, Luigi Solazzi, Candida Petrogalli, Michela Faccoli


Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) plays a critical role in railway components, and the characterization of materials used, in terms of RCF life, is still an open task, made complex by the interactions of different phenomena. The contact surface has a direct impact on the pressure exerted and can change during the test, due to wear. The procedure proposed consists in using vibrations of a test bench during RCF?life tests to identify when wear increases and causes a quick flattening of the specimen’s surface, and when this process is complete. The procedure is applied to two case studies regarding wheel and rail steels. In the tests, a wheel steel specimen rotates against a rail steel specimen, while pressed against each other by a constant force. At regular intervals weight loss and surface analysis are performed, while vibrations and torque are monitored continuously. Destructive tests are carried out at the end of each test. Results from non?destructive measurements were used to provide input data to a numerical simulation, used to determine the cyclic plasticity properties of the material. The methodology proposed shows the potential application of vibration measurements for detecting wear rates thus allowing supporting or partially supplanting destructive testing.

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