Railroad wheels guide a freight car along the rails while supporting mechanical loads, and also serve as the brake drum in the air brake system of a freight car. Since a 36-inch diameter freight car wheel experiences approximately 560 revolutions per mile, and since many North American freight cars accrue 100,000 miles per year in service, fatigue properties of steel are very important. Further, elevated tread temperatures resulting from tread braking are known to significantly reduce the yield strength of the wheel steel at the tread surface. This paper describes fatigue testing of AAR rim quenched Class C wheel steel manufactured with microalloy additions. Small amounts of selected alloy elements were purposely added to develop a wheel steel with improved high temperature yield strength. Rotating bending fatigue tests, conducted at a well-known professional testing laboratory, were performed at ambient and elevated temperatures using complete stress reversal (R = -1) cycling. Stress-life (S-N) curves were constructed and the microalloy steel results were compared to existing fatigue data, and to results for typical Class C steel with no microalloy additions. Past research work is briefly reviewed. Test results are discussed with emphasis on the implications for service performance of wheel steel.

1.
Harold Harrison, Li Cheng, and William GeMeiner, “Managing Gross Weight on Rail,” Proceedings of the IEEE/ASME Joint Rail Conference, JRC2006-94034, Atlanta, GA, April 4–6, 2006, pp. 169–179.
2.
Fred Carlson, “An Analysis of Commonly Used Body Mounted and Truck Mounted Brake Rigging,” Proceedings of the 91st Annual Convention and Technical Conference of the Air Brake Association, Chicago, IL, September, 19–22, 1999, pp. 120–132.
3.
Association of American Railroads, Circular Letter c-9488, June 21, 2002.
4.
Dennis Buda, Cameron Lonsdale and Richard Pilon, “The DTE 50-kip Strategy — 2 Year Update,” to be published in the Proceedings of the 97th Annual Convention and Technical Conference of the Air Brake Association, Chicago, IL, September, 19–22, 2005.
5.
M. C. Fec and D. Utrata, “Elevated Temperature Fatigue Behavior of Class B, C and U Wheel Steels, Proceedings of the 1885 Joint ASME — IEEE Railroad Conference, ASME, NY, NY, 1985.
6.
Peter C. McKeighan, Fraser J. McMaster, and Jeffery E. Gordon, “Fatigue Performance of AAR Class B Railroad Wheel Steel at Ambient and Elevated Temperatures,” Proceedings of the ASME IMECE 2002, New Orleans, LA, November 17–22, 2002.
7.
Fraser McMaster, Guadalupe B. Robledo, and Jeffery E. Gordon, “Fatigue Performance of AAR Class A Railroad Wheel Steel at Ambient and Elevated Temperatures,” Proceedings of the ASME IMECE 2005, Orlando, FL, November 5–11, 2005.
8.
Lonsdale
C.
and
Stone
D.
, “
Some Possible Alternatives for Longer-Life Locomotive Wheels
,” corrected version printed in the
Proceedings of the ASME/IEEE Joint Rail Conference
, RTD — Vol.
29
, Pueblo, Colorado, March 16–18,
2005
, pp.
239
244
.
9.
Lonsdale
C.
,
Dedmon
S.
and
Pilch
J.
, “
Recent Developments in Forged Railroad Wheels for Improved Performance
,”
Proceedings of the ASME/IEEE Joint Rail Conference
, RTD — Vol.
29
, Pueblo, Colorado, March 16–18,
2005
, pp.
39
43
.
10.
S. Dedmon, J. Pilch, and C. Lonsdale, “Further Studies of Forged Wheel Steel High Temperature Properties for Improved Finite Element Analysis Simulations,” Proceedings of the IEEE/ASME Joint Rail Conference, JRC2006-94011, Atlanta, GA, April 4–6, 2006, pp. 31–35.
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.