Study of wear performance of wheel and rail steels under dry sliding conditions
The demand for efficient railway services has significantly increased in the past years due to an increased demand for the high-speed transportation of goods with high loads. The increase in loads and velocities has resulted in increased problems associated with rolling contact fatigue (RCF), rolling and sliding wear on the wheel and rail materials causing a reduction of service life of wheel/rail systems. Rail operating companies spend significant funds in maintenance and replacing damaged rails and wheels caused by wear. In addition, unscheduled maintenance due to wear and RCF often lead to poor availability of railway networks. For this study, dry sliding wear was investigated on wheel and rail steels using RTEC Multi-Function Tribometer. The results demonstrated that the rig was successful in simulating sliding wear, and that the fractions of the wear components could be varied, and it also provided instrumentation. Information on coefficient of friction against sliding distance and applied force were obtained which were used to compare sliding wear performance of both wheel and rail steels. The wheel was found to perform better than the rail under the same conditions due to its high initial hardness values and smaller interlamellar spacing.