The rail is a metal beam having a special section. It is used to create support on which railway transport moves. For the first time, rails began to be made in ancient Rome, but then wood was used for their manufacture, and the distance between them was strictly 143 cm. The rails were installed in a parallel plane relative to each other. As a result, a “two-strand path” is formed.
The main task of the railroad rail is to direct the wheels of the transport and take over the load with its subsequent distribution to the lower elements of the upper track. In the case of the use of compounds in areas where movement is impossible without electric traction, the rails play the role of a current conductor, and for the zones that apply automatic blocking, the rails are a conductor.
MATERIAL OF CONSTRUCTION
In most cases, carbon steel is used for the construction of rails. The quality of this material is influenced by some factors, for example, the microstructure and macrostructure of steel, its chemical structure, etc. The presence of carbon gives the rail greater durability and reliability.
However, an excess of carbon in the composition of the steel can have a negative impact. When it is excessive, fragility increases significantly. That is why when adding carbon, it is worth taking care that the steel structure is as strong as possible.
Other substances are used to improve the quality of the starting material. Recently, rails are often treated with manganese. This increases the resistance of the metal to mechanical damage, makes it more durable and viscous. The addition of silicon to the composition of the steel increases its wear resistance and hardness. You can also use titanium, vanadium, and zirconium. These trace elements can significantly improve the quality characteristics of steel.
In no case should sulfur and phosphorus additives be added, as they make the steel more vulnerable to breaking and increase brittleness? Very often in the parts made with the addition of these substances, the presence of cracks and faults can be observed.
In order to choose the right type of rails, it is necessary to calculate the line load and the average speed with which the vehicle will travel. For example, a massive rail made of heavy metal has a positive effect on the durability of sleepers and reduces the economic costs of maintaining the line by increasing its durability.
There are such types of rails:
- Railway rails. This type is considered to be the most popular and in demand. The weight of 1 meter of such rails is 50-65 kg, the length is 12.5 or 50 m.
- Narrow gauge rails or light rails. Used when it is necessary to create a narrow interrail space. This type of rail is widely used in the mining industry and in other places with limited traffic.
- Mine rails. With their help stacking of jointless paths is made. They are also widely used in the industrial field.
- Tramlines. This type isn’t used for heavy line load. The weight of these rails is relatively small, which leads to their rapid wear.
- Crane (gantry) rails. They are used in those places where it is necessary to create ways to move the crane.
- Steel structure carrying crane rails. Such rails are considered the heaviest. In some cases, laying in several rows is allowed.
- Stock rails. They are used in places of construction of translation mechanisms.
- Guard rails. Used when working in the upper structures of railway tracks.
- Point rails. Sphere of application is similar to the guard type. They are used for the construction of railway tracks.