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Cracked Wheel Characterization Using Automated Crack Wheel Detector System (ACWDS)

Fatigue failures originating at inclusions and internal defects can lead to sudden failure of railroad wheels. Internal defects can grow unexpectedly and can lead to vertical split rim (VSR) or shattered rim crack (SRC) wheel failures, which could result in costly derailments. This paper reviews and discusses detection performance of an automated cracked wheel detector system (ACWDS) for detecting internal defects in moving train wheels. Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), of Pueblo, Colorado, USA is evaluating an ultrasonic cracked wheel detector produced by Nanjing Tycho Information Technology Company, Ltd. Preliminary test results demonstrate that this technology is capable of detecting VSR/SRC, shallow subsurface delaminations ranging from 0.15 inch to 0.22 inch (3.8 mm to 5.6 mm), and shelling/gouges at depths of 0.0625 inch to 0.125 inch (1.6 mm to 3.2 mm) reliably at speeds up to 15 mph (24 km/h).

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