TWI is planning to launch a joint industry project (JIP) seeking to establish a cost-effective and rapid method of repairing rail heads in situ using laser cladding.
Potential sponsors and interested parties are being invited to get in touch with the JIP Team by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to register their interest. It is anticipated that the project will launch in September.
TWI has been exploring the potential of laser cladding, which involves precisely fusing metallic powders to a work-piece using a high-powered focused laser, for some time. The technology is already used in a number of applications, and following participation in a recent project that demonstrated it could be effectively delivered using a portable system, TWI believes it could bring substantial benefits to the rail industry.
The JIP will develop a bespoke, durable and hard-wearing coating for rail heads, suitable for application by portable laser cladding. This will be achieved through evaluating various metallic powders and processing parameters and thorough mechanical and metallurgical testing. The project will also identify a non-destructive evaluation technique capable of detecting any flaws introduced during the cladding process.
Research in this area so far suggests that the fatigue properties of coatings applied using laser cladding match or exceed those of the substrate. This JIP will build on this research to introduce a new method of rail head repair that will reduce the costs and time required to mend sections of rail with defects or wear.
More details including timescales, costs and a summary of the six work packages the project will comprise can be found in the JIP proposal via the project webpage.
For more information about the project please contact us.