Analysis of subsurface crack propagation under rolling contact loading in railroad wheels using FEM

Yongming Liu, Liming Liu, Sankaran Mahadevan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


A general subsurface crack propagation analysis methodology for the wheel/rail rolling contact fatigue problem is developed in this paper. A three-dimensional elasto-plastic finite element model is used to calculate stress intensity factors in wheels, in which a sub-modeling technique is used to achieve both computational efficiency and accuracy. Then the fatigue damage in the wheel is calculated using a previously developed mixed-mode fatigue crack propagation model. The advantages of the proposed methodology are that it can accurately represent the contact stress of complex mechanical components and can consider the effect of loading non-proportionality. The effects of wheel diameter, vertical loading amplitude, initial crack size, location and orientation on stress intensity factor range are investigated using the proposed model. The prediction results of the proposed methodology are compared with in-field observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2659-2674
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Crack propagation
  • Fracture
  • Mixed-mode crack
  • Railroad wheels
  • Rolling contact fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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