An integrated experimental and numerical method to assess the fatigue performance of recycled rail
Recycling of rail is practised in the railway industry to promote sustainability and economic efficiency. The functional reliability of recycled rail has to be addressed to ensure safe application. Studies on the reliability of railway rails place great emphasis on fatigue failure. However, scarcity of public domain data on recycled rails and limitation of experimental hardware capability has constrained the study on the fatigue of recycled rails. The aim of the investigation is to propose a novel integrated approach for exploring the fatigue performance of recycled rail effectively and efficiently. A high cycle fatigue test was conducted on a recycled rail specimen to obtain data for the validation of the finite element (FE) numerical model. Following this, the FE numerical model was incorporated with the stepwise load increase test (LIT) method. The integrated method gave a more conservative prediction of the fatigue performance than the analytical method. The shot blasting process induced compressive residual stress which affected the specimen’s fatigue performance. This result was demonstrated by the integrated method. Furthermore, this integrated method also successfully reduced the overall required test time. The predicted endurance limit of the specimen was 130.37MPa, accomplishing the BS EN 13674-1:2011 standard.