Residual stress in laser cladded heavy-haul rails investigated by neutron diffraction

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Residual stress is one of the critical parameters affecting the fatigue behaviour of tribological components, which can be introduced by a thermo-mechanical process such as laser cladding. In this study, the residual stress distribution of laser cladded rails was evaluated using a neutron diffraction technique. The substrate rail for the laser cladding was hypereutectoid rail steel used in Australian heavy-haul railway track, and the cladding materials were 410L (a low carbon content stainless steel alloy) and Stellite 6 (a Co-based alloy). The cladding materials were selected based on their high wear, corrosion and fatigue resistance properties. This study measured the residual stress in full-scale laser cladded rails where the residual stresses were measured in the cladding layer, heat affected zone (HAZ) and substrate zone of the railhead. A new sample preparation strategy was developed to quantify the residual stresses in the full-scale rails with high spatial resolution. Higher compressive residual stress was found in the cladding layer, which may have resulted from the martensitic transformation occurred in that region. Tensile stresses occurred in the HAZ to a depth of 4 mm, which might be mainly caused by thermal contraction and volumetric change in the microstructure. The addition of a second cladding layer did not significantly affect the magnitude of the residual stresses, but the peak tensile residual stress shifted to a deeper location from the surface, which is beneficial in resisting wear. Post-cladding heat treatment significantly reduced the undesirable high residual stress from the cladding layer and HAZ. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
Cladding, Lasers, Neutron diffraction, Heat treatments, Fatigue, Mechanical properties
Roy, T., Paradowska, A., Abrahams, R., Law, M., Mutton, P., Soodi, M., & Yan, W. (2020). Residual stress in laser cladded heavy-haul rails investigated by neutron diffraction. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 278, 116511. doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2019.116511