Internal rail flaws continue to present a significant issue for the railroad industry. Current practices to mitigate the risk of catastrophic failure of the rails involve inspection for internal flaws and cracks using ultrasonic rail flaw detector technology, usually employed on rail-based vehicles. Following the identification of a suspected defect by an inspection vehicle, a detailed inspection of the suspect area is usually conducted to confirm the presence of the defect prior to the remedial action. Current portable or ultrasonic devices require significant expertise to allow test personnel to make a good judgment regarding the presence and severity of the flaw. A new generation of handheld detector is being developed to provide accurate three-dimensional images of the suspected flaw, thereby eliminating uncertainties in the inspection and providing operators with accurate sizing and orientation information. This paper presents a prototype ultrasonic handheld rail flaw inspection device designed and developed through support provided by the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research and Development by ENSCO, Inc., which can produce accurate three-dimensional images of suspected flaws for verification and characterization proposes.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.