Non Destructive Testing of Rails

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The soundness of structural integrity of rails installed in railway tracks is of great importance. A number of rail accidents with tragic consequences have been directly related to rail break, owing to undetected or missed rail defects disintegration under the axle load and cyclic fatigue phenomena. Existence and progression of rail flaws/defects are result of either inherent flaw during rail making process or the rail service life.
Conventional Non-destructive Testing systems mainly ultrasonic flaw detection from 1970s to the present have to some degree contributed in finding rail defects and their subsequent removals from the track, however a number of rail defects awkwardly distributed in parts of the rail particularly on the gauge face where sound beams do not impact upon them properly or undergo attenuation, scatter or mode converted will still be misinterpreted or missed. Recent research and developments for capturing data and information from discontinuities that result in rail break have gone many steps higher and modern and sophisticated combined NDT systems are now in action for raising the probability of detection (POD) and finding defects that were undetectable previously.
This thesis describes the basic understanding of rail’s metallurgical properties and its behaviour of under cyclic load and also describes various methods of NDT for rail inspection that have been available for the discovery of the rail flaws at pedestrian walking pace to high speed automated scanning of the tracks with emphasis on the formation, discovery and the safe control of Rolling Contact fatigue (RCF).
Date of Award1 Sep 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAbdeldjalil Bennecer (Supervisor) & Philip Picton (Supervisor)

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