Rail inspection is the practice of examining rail tracks for flaws. Nondestructive testing (NDT) methods are used as a preventive measure against track failures and possible derailment.
Methods used to detect flaws in rails:
- Ultrasonic Testing (Advanced UT)
- Eddy Current Testing (ET)
- Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)
- Radiographic Testing (RT)
- Magnetic Induction or Magnetic Fux Leakage
- Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT)
There are several factors that influence rail defects and rail failures. These factors include bending and shear stresses, rail/wheel contact stresses, residual stresses, thermal stresses and dynamic effects.
Defects due to Contact Stresses or Rolling Contact Fatigue:
- Head Checking (gauge corner cracking)
- Squats (which start as small surface breaking cracks)
- Tongue Lipping
Other forms of Internal and Surface defects:
- Transverse fissures/cracks
- Wheel burn
Parts of a rail where defects can be found:
- Bolt holes
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