Finite Element Investigation of Thermal-kinetic-mechanical Evolutions during Laser Powder Deposition as an Innovative Technique for Rail Repair

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The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology



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Utilization of laser powder deposition (LPD) as an innovative repair tool for damaged steel components is increasingly growing in recent years. This paper investigates repairing a standard US light rail using LPD. No study has focused on repairing standard US rails thus far. Besides, this is the first time that a three-dimensional finite element model is developed where element-birth-and-kill technique is employed to study thermal-kinetic-mechanical evolutions during the LPD rail repair process. Exploration of hardness versus microstructure yielded a reverse correlation between hardness level and austenite volume fraction. The maximum hardness was found near rail-deposition interface with the minimum austenite concentration, while the topmost deposition layer with the highest austenite concentration showed the minimum hardness. Longitudinal residual stresses at the rail-deposition interface were significantly more than that of transversal and normal. Comparing the residual stress against deposition material yield strength showed a slight exceedance (~5%) of transversal stress from the maximum limit, no exceedance for normal stress, but an extreme exceedance of 50% for longitudinal stress. This fact suggested a high risk of cracking along longitudinal direction at the rail-deposition interface, while there existed only a minor risk of transversal cracking and almost no chance of layer delamination. The simulated results were compared against experimental results obtained via optical and scanning electron microscopy, hardness test, and X-ray diffraction stress measurement, where a maximum deviation of 10% proved the model accuracy. The validated model in this study would be a great backbone for future studies on different process parameters to increase hardness and reduce stress in an LPD repaired rail.


Additive manufacturing; 3D printing; Laser powder deposition; Finite element analysis; Rail repair


Electro-Mechanical Systems | Manufacturing



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