Requirements of an Ideal Rail Section
Following should be the characteristics of an ideal rail section:
- The rail should have adequate lateral and vertical stiffness.
- The shape of the bottom of the head and top of the foot should be such that the fish plate could be fixed easily.
- The centre of gravity of the rail section should be located very near the centre of the height of the rail so that the maximum compressive and tensile stress are equal.
- The depth of the railhead should be sufficient to allow the sufficient margin for the vertical wear.
- The rail should be shaped suitably.
- The rail should be properly balanced which means there should be a balanced distribution of metal in head, web and foot of the rail.
- The surface and gauge face of the rail should be hard and capable to resist wear.
- The thickness of the web of the rail should be sufficient to withstand the load likely to come on the sleeper.
- The width of the foot of the rail should be sufficient to spread the rolling stock load on a large area of sleeper.
- The contact area between the rail and wheel should be sufficient to minimise the contact stresses.
- In short, the rail should have the most economical section consistent with strength, stiffness and durability.
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