Rail RCF damage quantification and comparison for different damage models

Visakh V. Krishna*, Saeed Hossein-Nia, Carlos Casanueva, Sebastian Stichel, Gerald Trummer, Klaus Six

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are several fatigue-based approaches that estimate the evolution of rolling contact fatigue (RCF) on rails over time and built to be used in tandem with multi-body simulations of vehicle dynamics. However, most of the models are not directly comparable with each other since they are based on different physical models even though they shall predict the same RCF damage at the end. This article studies different approaches to quantifying RCF and puts forward a measure for the degree of agreement between them. The methodological framework studies various steps in the RCF quantification procedure within the context of one another, identifies the ‘primary quantification step’ in each approach and compares results of the fatigue analyses. In addition to this, two quantities—‘similarity’ and ‘correlation’—have been put forward to give an indication of mutual agreement between models. Four widely used surface-based and sub-surface-based fatigue quantification approaches with varying complexities have been studied. Different operational cases corresponding to a metro vehicle operation in Austria have been considered for this study. Results showed that the best possible quantity to compare is the normalized damage increment per loading cycle coming from different approaches. Amongst the methods studied, approaches that included the load distribution step on the contact patch showed higher similarity and correlation in their results. While the different approaches might qualitatively agree on whether contact cases are ‘damaging’ due to RCF, they might not quantitatively correlate with the trends observed for damage increment values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
JournalRailway Engineering Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • KTH model
  • Multi-body simulation
  • Rail surface damage
  • Rolling contact fatigue
  • Surface fatigue index
  • Track-friendliness
  • Wedge model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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