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Non-destructive measurement of artificial near-surface cracks for railhead inspection

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This paper delivers a study involving the inspection of artificial surface cracks with depths ranging from 0.25-2.5 mm from the surface and with a crack angle of 30°, which is a typical angle for surface cracks in railheads. The inspections were conducted using three different techniques: phased array ultrasonics, single-element ultrasonics and alternating current potential drop (ACPD). For the ultrasonic techniques, the study focused on employing either longitudinal or shear wave signals. In the railway industry, shallow surface cracks in railheads are caused by rolling contact fatigue (RCF). In this study, artificial defects were made, allowing the authors to explore the extent to which the ultrasonic measurement techniques can detect such defects. The negative effect of a dead zone near to the surface in the ultrasonic tests was reduced by using a wedge attachment. A discussion on the extent to which the techniques can be used in field tests was also provided. The most important result is that shallow cracks ranging from 0.25-2.5 mm were successfully characterised with acceptable accuracy. The 2.5 mm-deep crack can be measured with an accuracy of 0.8% using a 20 MHz single-element probe and with an accuracy of 3.5% using a 5 MHz phased array (64 elements, 0.6 mm pitch). The characterisations were performed using a filtering method that was developed in this study.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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