Characterization of Rail Surface Condition

This is a project to investigate the use of guided ultrasonic waves to detect and characterize surface and subsurface defects in rail. An ultrasonic pulse is introduced into the rail using an electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT). This pulse travels down the rail and interacts with rail defects, ends, cold-worked layers, and various surface conditions. Upon encountering one of these discontinuities, a portion of the wave will be reflected back to the transducer. The amount of energy reflected will depend upon the size and shape of the defect. An analysis of the returned signal is then performed to identify and characterize the defect. The system would be mounted on a track inspection vehicle such as a hi-rail truck and would theoretically be able to operate at speeds up to 25mph.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $91000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    IDEA Project 55

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    High Speed Rail Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA)

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Taylor, Charles

  • Start Date: 20071201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 18971

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01545257
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: IDEA Project 55
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 26 2014 1:00AM