Numerical Calculation for the Critical Initial Flaw Size of Flash-Butt Welded Rail

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Kotchaporn Thadsoongnoen
Nitikorn Noraphaiphipaksa
Anat Hasap
Chaosuan Kanchanomai


The flaws within flash-butt welded joint of a rail may occur during welding and/or operation. They may cause the damage of the welded joint of a rail. The size of flaw that allows the fatigue crack to propagate is defined as the critical initial flaw size. In the present work, the critical initial flaw size of flash-butt welded joint of a rail was studied using the linear-elastic fracture mechanics and finite element method. A semi-circular crack at the bottom surface of rail foot (i.e., the region with the maximum bending stress from wheel load) was selected to represent the flaw. It was observed that the stress intensity factor range of flaw equals to the threshold stress intensity factor range of rail steel, when the flaw size is approximately 2 mm (i.e., the critical initial flaw size). At this critical initial flaw, the propagation of fatigue crack is likely to occur. The finding can be beneficial to the railway engineering, and applied for the maintenance, and improvement of flash-butt welded joint.


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Thadsoongnoen, K. ., Noraphaiphipaksa, N. ., Hasap, A. ., & Kanchanomai, C. . (2020). Numerical Calculation for the Critical Initial Flaw Size of Flash-Butt Welded Rail. Naresuan University Engineering Journal, 15(2), 12–20. Retrieved from
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