1 April 2015 Identification and prioritization of rail squat defects in the field using rail magnetisation technology
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Abstract
Inevitably, rail squats and studs are continuing to be a serious problem for railway organisations around the world in the 21st century. They are typically classified as the growth of any cracks that have grown longitudinally through the subsurface and some of the cracks propagating to the bottom of rails transversely, and have branched from initial longitudinal cracks with a depression of rail surface. The horizontal crack, which results in a depression of rail surface, induces increased maintenance level, more frequent monitoring, compromised rail testing (as the crack shields the signal echoes), and possible broken rails. This paper presents field investigations using a magnetised-rail testing device developed by MRX Technologies to identify and prioritise the rail squats. Most of the in situ squats were found on the high rail of the transition (variable-radius curved track), which is associated with rolling contact fatigue (RCF). This investigation highlights the field performance of the MRX’s surface crack detection technology in comparison with the traditional ultrasonic method and detailed walking inspection. Visually, it was found in the field that the size of the RCF squats varies from very small to moderate. The predicted crack data were obtained by scanning the magnitised rails. The comparison of the actual crack depths (ultrasonic) and the predicted crack depths (MRX device) shows: • A possible correlation for small RCF/ squat cracks. • Poor interpretation of larger defects and welds. The field assessment also suggests some practical issues required for further development, including the detection of rail spalling, deep transverse crack, welding, and so on.
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Sakdirat Kaewunruen, "Identification and prioritization of rail squat defects in the field using rail magnetisation technology ", Proc. SPIE 9437, Structural Health Monitoring and Inspection of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure 2015, 94371H (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083851; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2083851
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