Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Technology Could Transform Every Train into A High Speed Cracked Rail Detector

05.07.2004


Researchers in the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics have developed a novel non-contact method of using ultrasound to detect and measure cracks and flaws in rail track – particularly gauge corner cracking - that has the potential to simply be attached to a normal passenger or freight train travelling at high speeds.

Current ultrasonic techniques for detecting defects only work at much slower speeds (around 20-30 miles an hour). A handful of special trains have been created using conventional contacting ultrasonic techniques but there are severe limitations as to when and where they can be used without disrupting the network. The new technology, developed by Dr Steve Dixon, Dr Rachel Edwards and Mr John Reed at the University of Warwick, makes use of a particular form of ultrasonics – a “low frequency wide band Rayleigh wave” to produce a crack testing technique that works at high speed and could transform every train in the country into part of a 24 hour network of rail crack detectors.

The researchers have taken pairs of “electromagnetic acoustic transducers” (EMATS) which generate and detect the “low frequency wide band Rayleigh wave” on the rail without touching the rail. This Rayleigh wave travels along the surface of the rail head, along the length of the rail, penetrating down to a depth of several millimetres. They simultaneously use a wide range of frequencies within a single Rayleigh wave pulse (hence their description of it as a “wide band Rayleigh Wave”) as different frequencies allow penetration of the rail to a range of precise measurable depths.



When the wave, which travels along the surface of the length of the rail at 3000 metres per second, interacts with a crack the different frequency components of the signal are blocked to differing degrees, or are reflected from the crack. The researchers can determine the exact location of a crack by observing the loss of signal as it is blocked by the crack or, at lower speeds, by observing the sudden enhancement in signal created by the interference of waves reflected back from the crack with fresh waves generated by the first EMAT.

Not only can the researchers pinpoint the location of cracks using this technique – they can also ascertain the exact depth of the crack by observing how the frequency content of the Rayleigh wave changes as it moves through a region containing a crack.

The researchers also have had some results that suggest the technique could also be used to get some sense of the change in microstructure and stress levels of a section of track and thus identify sections of track that are more likely to crack or fail – but more testing is required on a greater range of rails before they can be sure of this additional benefit of the technology.

The research has just been published in the June issue of the journal of the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing “Insight” and will also be presented on Tuesday 6th July at the 7th International Railway Engineering conference at the Commonwealth Institute in London.

Dr Steve Dixon said: “Given the will and funding this technology could transform every train in the country into an army of highly sophisticated rail monitors with zero disruption to the rail network”.

Peter Dunn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
10.08.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>