Transformation of carbide phase in rails at long-term operation

Yu F. Ivanov, A. A. Yur’Ev, V. E. Gromov, S. V. Konovalov, O. A. Peregudov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Evolution of carbide phase in surface layers of volume (passed gross tonnage 500 and 100 million tons) and differentially hardened rails (passed tonnage – 691.8 million tons) to a depth of 10 mm along the central axis and along the rail head fillet was studied by means of transmission electron diffraction microscopy. The grains of lamellar perlite, ferrite-carbide mixture, structurally free ferrite are analyzed. The flow of two complementary mechanisms of transformation of carbide phase of steel in the surface layers during the rails operation was identified: mechanism of cutting cementite particles and their subsequent transfer into the ferrite grains or plates volume (in perlite structure); mechanism of cutting and following dissolution of cementite particles, transition of carbon atoms to dislocations (into the Cottrell clouds and the dislocation centers), transfer of carbon atoms within dislocations to the volume of grains (or plates) of ferrite, with the following repeated formation of nanoscale cementite particles. A fragmented dislocation substructure is formed instead of former plates. Fragments boundaries decorate places where cementite-α phase interphase boundaries used to be. The main reason for dissolution of cementite is that it is energetically more preferable for carbon atoms to be on dislocation centers and on sub-boundaries than in cementite lattice. Binding energy of carbon atom-dislocation is 0.6 eV, for carbon atom-subboundary bond it is 0.8 eV, while in cementite it is held by 0.4 eV. Formation of elastoplastic stress fields is detected, concentrators of which are intra- and interphase boundaries between grains of ferrite and perlite, cementite and ferrite plates of perlite colonies, particles of globular cementite and ferrite. The main sources of curvature-torsion of metal lattice of rails metal are intra-and interphase boundaries of grain separation of ferrite and perlite, cementite and ferrite plates of perlite colonies, particles of globular cementite and ferrite. Approaching to the rolling surface, number of stress concentrators and amplitude of internal fields of long-range stress are increasing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalIzvestiya Ferrous Metallurgy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Carbide phase
  • Destruction of cementite plates
  • Long-term operation
  • Nanosized ferrite
  • Rails

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Metals and Alloys

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