Wheel plate failures occur rarely in North American freight car service. When they do occur, derailments are a likely result. Shot peening has been used to improve fatigue life for more than 80 years and the efficacy of the process is now undisputed in reducing fatigue failures of parts subjected to high levels of cyclic stresses. The introduction of residual compressive stresses from shot peening is acknowledged as the reason for the improvement in fatigue life; comparable processes such as cold rolling, are successful for the same reason. Since residual stresses are so important to fatigue life, then design and processing prior to shot peening should have an equally important role. This investigation demonstrates some of the variables which are important to producing wheels resistant to plate fatigue failures.

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