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9 May 2014 Crack detection of railway turnouts using PZT sensors (presentation video)
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Railway turnouts (railroad switches) are the weakest components of a rail track system. Cracks may occur in the railway turnouts due to cyclic loadings and impact loadings imposed by passing trains. It is of great significance to continuously monitor the health condition of the railway turnouts and promptly detect crack once it initiates. It is well-known that acoustic emission (AE) signals are generated when a crack initiates and propagates. Detecting the high-frequency AE signals by piezoelectric sensors can help identify the crack and its location. This paper reports the design and implementation of a PZT-based system for crack monitoring of railway turnouts. This online monitoring system is activated for signal collection by a trigger system when a train is arriving to pass through the instrumented railway turnout. It mainly detects the AE signals generated when a crack initiates during the train passage or when the initiated crack expands during the passage of a heavy haul wagon. This system has been installed on a railroad line for over one year and has successfully detected the damage occurring at a railroad switch during its service period. This paper also briefs a guided-wave-based system for monitoring of micro-cracks in rail tracks by integrating FBG and PZT sensors.
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Yiqing Ni, Z. G. Li, and F. Wu "Crack detection of railway turnouts using PZT sensors (presentation video)", Proc. SPIE 9064, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2014, 90641S (9 May 2014);

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