This paper presents an elasto-plastic analysis of the repeated, frictionless, three-dimensional rolling contact similar to the ones produced by the rail-wheel geometry. This paper treats an elliptical contact rolling across a semi-infinite half space. The contact shape and loading: semi-major axis (in the rolling direction), w1 = 8 mm, and semi-minor axis, w2 = 5.88 mm, reflect standard rail and wheel curvatures and a wheel load of 149 KN (33,000 lb). A three-dimensional, elasto-plastic finite element model, developed earlier, is employed together with the elastic-linear-kinematic-hardening-plastic (ELKP) idealization of the cyclic plastic behaviour of a material similar to rail and wheel steels. The calculations present the displacements, the stress-strain distributions, stress-plastic strain histories and the plastic strain ranges in the half-space. The cyclic plasticity approaches a steady state after one contact with further contacts producing open but fully reversed stress-strain hysteresis loops, i.e., plastic shakedown.

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