Assessing fatigue crack growth in railway axles

Stuart Hillmansen*, Roderick A. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


Railway axles are safety critical components. Designing in failsafe mechanisms is very difficult and the safety of the component is determined though a good understanding of the structural integrity and through effective management policies. This paper first reviews from a historical viewpoint the development of the design and management of railway axles, and then outlines state of the art methodologies to be employed in the successful management of railway axles. Advancements in fatigue fracture mechanics have permitted the development of statistical techniques which enhance the understanding of axle failures which occur relatively infrequently. Because of the extremely low number of in-service failures, there exists a possibility to increase the NDT inspection interval, and to even abandon certain inspection procedures, such as far-end ultrasonic scans, completely. There is some evidence to suggest that inspection procedures which involve a degree of disassembly of the axle actually introduce a risk which offsets the benefit associated with crack detection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th International Conference on Fracture 2005, ICF11
PublisherCurran Associates
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781617820632
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Event11th International Conference on Fracture 2005, ICF11 - Turin, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Mar 200525 Mar 2005


Conference11th International Conference on Fracture 2005, ICF11
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Axle failures
  • Effective management
  • Fail-safe mechanism
  • Fatigue fracture
  • In-service failures
  • Inspection intervals;
  • Inspection procedures
  • Railway axles
  • Safety critical components
  • State of the art
  • Statistical techniques
  • Successful management;
  • Ultrasonic scan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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