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Proceedings Paper

Field testing of prototype systems for the non-destructive measurement of the neutral temperature of railroad tracks
Author(s): Robert Phillips; Francesco Lanza di Scalea; Claudio Nucera; Mahmood Fateh; John Choros
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Paper Abstract

In both high speed and freight rail systems, the modern construction method is Continuous Welded Rail (CWR). The purpose of the CWR method is to eliminate joints in order to reduce the maintenance costs for both the rails and the rolling stock. However the elimination of the joints increases the risk of rail breakage in cold weather and buckling in hot weather. In order to predict the temperature at which the rail will break or buckle, it is critical to have knowledge of the temperature at which the rail is stress free, namely, the Rail Neutral Temperature (Rail-NT).The University of California at San Diego has developed an innovative technique based on non-linear ultrasonic guided waves, under FRA research and development grants for the non-destructive measurement of the neutral temperature of railroad tracks. Through the licensing of this technology from the UCSD and under the sponsorship of the FRA Office of Research and Development, a field deployable prototype system has been developed and recently field tested at cooperating railroad properties. Three prototype systems have been deployed to the Union Pacific (UP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), and AMTRAK railroads for field testing and related data acquisition for a comprehensive evaluation of the system, with respect to both performance and economy of operation. The results from these tests have been very encouraging. Based on the lessons learned from these field tests and the feedback from the railroads, it is planned develop a compact 2nd generation Rail-NT system to foster deployment and furtherance of FRA R&D grant purpose of potential contribution to the agency mission of US railroad safety. In this paper, the results of the field tests with the railroads in summer of 2013 are reported.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2014
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9061, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014, 90610J (8 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045081
Show Author Affiliations
Robert Phillips, Rail Inspection, LLC (United States)
Francesco Lanza di Scalea, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Claudio Nucera, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Mahmood Fateh, Federal Railroad Administration (United States)
John Choros, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9061:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014
Jerome P. Lynch; Kon-Well Wang; Hoon Sohn, Editor(s)

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