Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 218–225 | Cite as

Structural Health Monitoring of Railroad Wheels Using Wheel Impact Load Detectors

  • Brant Stratman
  • Yongming Liu
  • Sankaran Mahadevan
Peer Reviewed


This paper proposes two quantitative criteria for removing railroad wheels from service, based on real-time structural health monitoring trends that are developed using data collected from trains while in service. The data is collected using wheel impact load detectors (WILDs). These impact load trends are able to distinguish wheels with a high probability of failure from high-impact wheels with a low probability of failure. The trends indicate the critical wheels that actually need to be removed, while at the same time allowing wheels that aren’t critical to remain in service. As a result, the safety of the railroad will be much improved by being able to identify and remove wheels that have high likelihood of causing catastrophic failures.


Catastrophic failure Crack growth rate Data interpretation Failure analysis Nondestructive testing Structural health monitoring 



The research reported in this paper was supported by funds from Union Pacific Railroad and Meridian Railroad (Research Agreement No. 18140, Monitors: Rex Beck and Todd Snyder). The support is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brant Stratman
    • 1
  • Yongming Liu
    • 1
  • Sankaran Mahadevan
    • 1
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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