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Mid-America Transportation Center

Determining the Stresses in Steel Railroad-Track Rails Due To Freight Movements using Non-Contact Laser-Speckle

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Robert Peterman (bob@ksu.edu (785)532-7612)
  • Graduate Students
  • Eugene Russell
  • Robert Murphy
  • Hayder Rasheed
  • Ahmed Fattah
  • Asad Esmaeily
  • Brandon Bortz
  • Chandra Manadhar
  • Ahmed Fattah
  • Chandra Manadhar
  • Undergraduate Students
  • James Kozak
  • Quinn Stenzel
  • Luke McIntosh
  • Jacob Farell
  • Santoshkumar Mummaneni
  • Kaithlyn Howard
  • Jessica Hennes
  • Ranjit Godavarthy
  • Jacob Farell
  • James Kozak
  • Jessica Hennes
  • Kaithlyn Howard
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Kansas Transportation Research and New Development Program
  • CISL-PRS(Israel)
  • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    The ability to accurately determine the existing stresses in railroad track rails is extremely valuable when assessing the condition of an existing railway line. This is especially important for routes that pass through Kansas and Nebraska which transport heavily loaded coal-carrying cars from Wyoming's Powder River Basin. This project focuses on the extension of a non-contact strain measurement technique for use on steel rails in order to determine the stresses in the rails under heavy freight movements.
    Research Objective
    The objective of this project is to optimize the optical components used in laser-speckle strain measurement for use on steel rail surfaces, and then to verify the effectiveness of the technique by determining stresses on actual steel rails.
    Potential Benefits
    The specific outcome will be the extension and optimization of the laser-speckle strain measurement technique for use on steel rails, and the establishment of the procedures necessary to determine the corresponding stresses in the rails. Upon the successful completion of this project, the laser-speckle device will be demonstrated and will provide key information that can be used to make decisions about track maintenance and the impact of heavy freight movements along the rails.
    Abstract
    The proposed research is aimed at developing a procedure to determine the existing stresses in steel rails used in railroad tracks. These stresses are caused by the combination of both thermal restraint and physical/mechanical loads. However, since the track sections are installed at various temperatures and then continuously welded together and secured to wood or concrete ties, the stresses existing in the track at any given time are currently unknown. In fact, not only the magnitude of stress is unknown, but also the basic knowledge about whether the rails are in tension or compression a given time. Since the stresses due to thermal and physical loading are additive in the elastic range, the existing safety factors of the rail system when subjected to heavy freight movements is also an unknown. The proposed research will be aimed at extending the existing technology of laser-speckle strain measurements for concrete surfaces to use on steel rails.
    Project Amount
    $ 50,382
    Modal Orientation
  • Freight
  • Railroad
  • Structures
  • Technology Transfer Activities
    The ability to accurately determine the existing stresses in railroad track rails is extremely valuable when assessing the condition of an existing railway line. This is especially important for routes that pass through Kansas and Nebraska which transport heavily loaded coal-carrying cars from Wyoming's Powder River Basin. This project focuses on the extension of a non-contact strain measurement technique for use on steel rails in order to determine the stresses in the rails under heavy freight movements.