• Arc welding using large batteries of Accumulatorenfabrik AG around 1906
The following objectives are aimed for during the development an selection of rail welding processes:
Rail surface defects are a critical safety concern for railway infrastructure owners, managers and operators all over the world. They lead to poor ride quality due to excess vibration and noise; in rare cases, they can result in a broken rail and a train derailment. They undermine the safety and operational reliability of both moderate- and high-speed trains in passenger suburban, metro, urban, mixed-traffic, and freight rail systems.
Furthermore, the cost of rail replacements due to such defects has become a significant portion of the whole track maintenance costs, especially in European countries, e.g., Austria, Germany, and France.
Defects are typically classified as ‘rail studs’ when they initiate from the white etching layer, and ‘rail squats’ when they initiate from rolling contact fatigue. Due to the high potential damage caused by rail studs and rail squads, several research and development projects have been initiated around the world to investigate the causes of, and feasible solutions to, these defects.
Rail studs initiate from the white etching layer (WEL) due to wheel slides or excessive traction and grow horizontally 3–6 mm below the rail surface.
Rail squats and studs have been observed in all arrays of track geometries and gradients, in all types of track structures, and in all operational rail traffics.
Rail squats propagate from surface cracks initiated by rolling contact fatigue (RCF), and grow at a depth of 3–6 mm below the rail surface.
As a result, the rail surface becomes depressed and passing wheels create excess vibration, noise, and impact loads. This leads to uncomfortable rides for passengers.
Squats are often found in tangent tracks, in high rails of moderate-radius curves, and in turnouts with vertical, unground rails. In cases where impact forces exceed acceptable limits the safety of track components can be compromised.
Sakdirat Kaewunruen<b><*>: Peridynamic Analysis of Rail Squats, Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2299; DOI: 10.3390/app8112299,
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<a> Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.
<b>Institute of Transportation Engineering, Riga Technical University, Kipsalas iela 6A, Riga LV-1048, Latvia.