A finite element model to simulate the physical mechanisms of wear and crack initiation in wheel/rail contact

Werner Daves, Wilhelm Kubin, Stephan Scheriau, Martin Pletz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The presented work describes firstly the wear and crack initiation mechanism using metallographic investigations of deformed surfaces by rolling sliding wheel/rail contact. Secondly, a multi-scale finite element model is presented which allows the simulation of the deformation process near the surface of a rail under rolling sliding contact. It is necessary to model the roughness of the surfaces of wheel and rail to obtain a realistic deformation state which is comparable to experiments. Furthermore, the realistic stick-slip behaviour of a rolling sliding wheel along a rail is considered. Regarding these aspects of wheel/rail contact a realistic deformation picture with near quantitative amounts of plastic shear strains from micrometre to millimetre range can be predicted. The numerical results obtained using the multi-scale model can be compared to metallographic observations and deliver a satisfying match.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
Issue number15 November
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2016


  • Crack initiation
  • Finite element
  • Surface deformation
  • Wear
  • Wheel/Rail

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