The effect of rail surface crack on the wheel-rail contact pressure distribution under partial slip rolling was studied in this work. The elastic-plastic finite element model was employed for stress analyses. The numerical simulations were used to explore the effects of the contact distances and tractive force on the normal and tangential contact pressure distributions, tip plastic energy and critical wheel applied load. Contact elements were used to simulate the interaction between wheel and rail and crack surfaces. Numerical results indicate that the contact pressure distributions are significantly affected by the rail crack. Traditional contact theories are not available to describe the contact pressure distribution on the contact crack surfaces. Results also indicate that a higher friction force on the contact crack surfaces is observed for wheel subjected a larger tractive force. A larger crack surfaces friction force can reduce the sliding between crack surfaces and leads to a smaller tip plastic energy.

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