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Railway axle failures and durability validation

: Grubisic, V.; Fischer, G.


Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part F, Journal of rail and rapid transit 226 (2012), Nr.5, S.518-529
ISSN: 0954-4097
ISSN: 2041-3017
Fraunhofer LBF ()

In this paper the influence of the approach taken to the design of train axles is considered and the shortcomings of the currently used procedures for fatigue strength validation are discussed. The procedure proposed in existing standards assumes a fatigue endurance limit, that is not realistically applicable to actual service conditions, and they do not take into account the real stresses encountered in actual service. The problems generated by such an approach are discussed using examples of actual failures of passenger train axles in Germany. A practice-related procedure for the service strength validation is proposed. This procedure includes service-related stress spectra and the fatigue strength of axles. To validate an axle design the time-varying stresses in individual critical areas of the axle, represented by their stress spectra, must be taken into account. The allowable stress levels in individual axle areas depend both on the fatigue strength and on the spectrum of operational stresses.