Mohammad Albakri with the assistance of Mico Woolard prepare a one-of-a-kind intelligent insulated rail joint at Norfolk Southern. As part of our ongoing work with with Dr. Ahmadian of the Railway Technology Laboratory (RTL) an affiliated laboratory of the Association American Railroads (AAR), VAST has prepared two intelligent insulated rail joints capable of detecting damage and defects during operations. The joints, one which will reside on a rail section in Roanoke Virginia under the auspice of Norfolk Southern and the other headed shortly to the track at TTCi, will be long term testbeds for proof of concept of the technology. We are very thankful to Norfolk Southern, in particular Brad Kerchof, John Wachsmuth, Guy Kageals and Kevin Conn for their help with getting rail sections for the insulated joints and all the extra work to actually put these together and finally install them on a track. We are also thankful to Dave Davis at TTCi for providing the insulated joints.
The technology developed at VAST uses piezoceramic augmented rail joints to measure the mechanical impedance of the insulated joint and determines deviations from a healthy baseline signal that can be used to alert of incipient damage or unhealthy changes in performance. By using these domain coupled techniques the mechanical impedance changes can be obtained in a straightforward manner by measurement of the coupled electrical impedance across the piezoceramics. The joints have piezoceramic patches in several locations across the insulated joint including the the joint bar, rail sections and bolts.
More to come...
Mohammad and Mico are "working on the railroad all the live-long day" : installation of an in-field structural health monitoring system.
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