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Proceedings Paper

Broken rail track detection using smart materials
Author(s): Fanny Bouteiller; Benjamin L. Grisso; Daniel M. Peairs; Daniel J. Inman
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Paper Abstract

Rail lines are subject to many types of damage that, in the worst cases, can cause train derailments. The damage can arise from either manufacturing defects or external factors, possibly even terrorist acts to disrupt the civil infrastructure. Current rail inspection techniques require train traffic to be interrupted while workers and equipment move along the track. Moreover, a technician with rail testing experience is required to analyze the results. This paper focuses on simple proof of concept experiments to determine if impedance based structural health monitoring may be used to detect anomalies in rail tracks, and in particular broken rails. The technique applies a very low voltage (one volt) high frequency wave to a structure, measures its response and determines the location and extent of a rail break. The monitoring device is envisioned to run off of ambient vibration and thermal gradients provided by passing trains and daily thermal cycles, store the energy and utilize the stored energy periodically to inspect the track (according to the track usage schedule). If damage occurs or starts to occur, a warning signal would be transmitted to substation then broadcast to the appropriate operator listing the location and extent of the damage.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6178, Nonintrusive Inspection, Structures Monitoring, and Smart Systems for Homeland Security, 617809 (16 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.658791
Show Author Affiliations
Fanny Bouteiller, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Benjamin L. Grisso, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Daniel M. Peairs, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Daniel J. Inman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6178:
Nonintrusive Inspection, Structures Monitoring, and Smart Systems for Homeland Security
Aaron A. Diaz; H. Felix Wu; Steven R. Doctor; Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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