Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) cracks form on the surface of the rails due to compressive and frictional stresses induced on the rail at the wheel/rail contact patch. After a stage of low-angled growth, the cracks may propagate a) upwards, causing spalling of the rail material, b) downwards, causing complete local failure of the rail, c) along the initial low-angled plane of growth. The project aims in the development of criteria for capturing the direction and rate of crack propagation in a general non-linear growth setting. The developed criteria along with already existing criteria from the literature are evaluated against known crack paths and rates from mixed-mode crack growth experiments. Criteria that perform best will be used in the development of a numerical tool for simulation of RCF crack evolution.
The project is closed: 15/01/2019