A finite-element computer program, which takes into consideration nonlinear material behavior after the yield point has been exceeded, has been used to analyze the thermal stresses in railroad freight car wheels subjected to severe drag brake heating. The analysis has been used with typical wheel material properties and wheel configurations to determine the thermal stress field and the extent of regions in the wheel where the yield point is exceeded. The resulting changes in the residual stress field after the wheel has cooled to ambient temperature have also been calculated. It is shown that severe drag braking can lead to the development of residual circumferential tensile stresses in the rim and radial compressive stresses in the plate near both the hub and rim fillets.

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