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Developing a reliable signal wire attachment method for rail.
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Developing a reliable signal wire attachment method for rail.
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    DOT/FRA/ORD-14/33 ; EWI Project No. 53167GTH ;
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  • Abstract:
    The goal of this project was to develop a better attachment method for rail signal wires to improve the reliability of signaling

    systems. EWI conducted basic research into the failure mode of current attachment methods and developed and tested a new

    process that provides improved performance over current techniques. EWI studied currently available stud alloys and developed a

    solid state inertia friction welding (IFW) process to better control the joining process and reduce the likelihood of forming

    martensite in the rail head. C464 Naval Brass exhibited high strength without the formation of martensite under manageable

    process parameters.

    EWI developed the new welding process and conducted a series of tests to address any barriers to implementation. The testing

    included comparative tests between current exothermic welding techniques and the new IFW process. These tests included tensile

    testing, fatigue testing of welded joints, impact testing of weld joints, shear testing, microstructural analysis, and hardness testing

    in the rail steel immediately adjacent to the joint. In these tests, no martensite was found in the rail using the newly developed

    IFW process conditions. The mechanical tests showed a joint strength comparable to exothermic processes and fatigue

    performance that was as good, or better than, existing methods. This suggests the IFW approach should allow placement of the

    weld on the rail head with low risk of rail steel damage. A conceptual design for a portable IFW machine was completed.

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