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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>