Railroad inspection based on ACFM employing a non-uniform B-spline approach
2013 - J. M. Chacón Muñoz, F. P. Garcia Marquez, M. Papaelias
Mechanical Systems and Signal Procesing.40, 605-617 (2013)
The stresses sustained by rails have increased in recent years due to the use of higher train speeds and heavier axle loads. For this reason surface and near-surface defects generate by Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) have become particularly significant as they can cause unexpected structural failure of the rail, resulting in severe derailments. The accident that took place in Hatfield, UK (2000), is an example of a derailment caused by the structural failure of a rail section due to RCF. Early detection of RCF rail defects is therefore of paramount importance to the rail industry. The performance of existing ultrasonic and magnetic flux leakage techniques in detecting rail surface-breaking defects, such as head checks and gauge corner cracking, is inadequate during high-speed inspection, while eddy current sensors suffer from lift-off effects. The results obtained through rail inspection experiments under simulated conditions using Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM) probes, suggest that this technique can be applied for the accurate and reliable detection of surface-breaking defects at high inspection speeds. This paper presents the B-Spline approach used for the accurate filtering the noise of the raw ACFM signal obtained during high speed tests to improve the reliability of the measurements. A non-uniform B-spline approximation is employed to calculate the exact positions and the dimensions of the defects. This method generates a smooth approximation similar to the ACFM dataset points related to the rail surface-breaking defect.