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Ultrasonic characterisation of wheel hub/axle interference fit pressures

By M.B. Marhsall, R. Lewis, R.S. Dwyer-Joyce, F. Demilly and Y. Flament


Railway wheels are secured onto the axle by means of an interference fit. The wheel is press fitted onto a pre-lubricated axle, and the resulting interference fit induces a contact pressure at the interface. Occasionally railway wheels fail by fatigue, with the initiation point for the failure frequently traced to the interference fit. The aim of this work is to use ultrasonic reflection to non-destructively determine contact conditions in the interference fit. \ud \ud The rough surface contact at the interference fit interface behaves like a spring. If the contact pressure is high the interface is conformal with few air gaps, the stiffness is then high and the transmission of an ultrasonic wave is permitted. However, when pressure is low more air gaps exist, interfacial stiffness is then reduced and more of the ultrasound is reflected. \ud \ud \ud Normalised contact pressure was determined from this stiffness. Maps of the interface have been produced which show the contact pressure to peak at the edges of the fit, and to experience a continuous variation about a mean value elsewhere

Year: 2004
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