Iwnicki, S. (2009) The Effect of Profiles on Wheel and Rail Damage. International Journal of Vehicle Structures & Systems, 1 (4). pp. 99-104. ISSN 0975-3060

This paper outlines the historical development of the wheel and rail profiles currently used on railway vehicles. It also presents the key damage mechanisms involved in wheel-rail contact and summarises the methods that have recently been developed by railway engineers to predict the level of wheel and rail damage from these mechanisms. Tools for predicting the key damage modes of wear and rolling contact fatigue (RCF) are explained. Methods of optimising the wheel and rail profiles to reduce the overall damage and therefore improve the efficiency of the railway system are discussed and a case study from the UK of an ‘anti-RCF’ wheel profile is presented. Finally a novel method using a genetic algorithm is discussed which uses a penalty index to optimise the wheel profile for good running, low track forces and rail stress, low wear and RCF.

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