Onboard detection of railway axle bearing defects using envelope analysis of high frequency acoustic emission signals

Arash Amini*, Mani Entezami, Mayorkinos Papaelias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
235 Downloads (Pure)


Railway wheelsets consist of three main components; the wheel, axle and axle bearing. Faults can develop on any of the aforementioned components, but the most common are related to wheel and axle bearing damages. The continuous increase in train operating speeds means that failure of an axle bearing can lead to very serious derailments, potentially causing human casualties, severe disruption in the operation of the network, damage to the tracks, unnecessary costs, and loss of confidence in rail transport by the general public. The rail industry has focused on the improvement of maintenance and online condition monitoring of rolling stock to reduce the probability of failure as much as possible. This paper discusses the results of onboard acoustic emission measurements carried out on freight wagons with artificially damaged axle bearings in Long Marston, UK. Acoustic emission signal envelope analysis has been applied as a means of effective tool to detect and evaluate the damage in the bearings considered in this study. From the results obtained it is safe to conclude that acoustic emission signal envelope analysis has the capability of detecting and evaluating faulty axle bearings along with their characteristic defect frequencies in the real-world conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalCase Studies in Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation
Issue numberPart A
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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