Materials used in wheels and rails are exposed to a complex combination of mechanical and thermal loadings. Understanding the behaviour is essential for materials selection for different environments, for design of railway components as well as for tuning of traction and braking systems. The stress state in rolling contact loading is not readily simulated under laboratory conditions, but in this project an attempt to examine material properties under realistic conditions will be made by use of a bi-axial servo-hydraulic test frame equipped with an induction heating device. Means to prevent buckling under compressive loads will be taken by specimen design, inherent test frame stiffness and/or a fixture. Also uni-axial tests at higher temperatures and with alternating thermal and mechanical loads (thermo-mechanical fatigue) will be done. Both the virgin material and the anisotropic surface layer will be investigated with the aim to give a better understanding of material behaviour in service and enable implementation and calibration of realistic material models describing the behaviour.
A more well-informed materials selection and wheel/rail design process gives longer component life times which saves emissions generated by steel production and maintenance work. Generally, the economic benefit from improved railway technology can help improve the competitiveness for this relatively environmentally friendly mode of transport.