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Using MELD to Improve and Maintain Bridge and Railway Infrastructure

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With the demand for persistent readiness of critical infrastructure such as rail and bridge structures, the need for the ability to repair and improve upon existing large metal structures becomes more crucial. These needs range from the ability to repair metal structures with the same material to retrofit with materials exhibiting improved material properties over the existing structure that impart new capabilities to carry heavier loads and/or improve durability.

The goal of this project is to develop a system capable of rehabilitating existing structures such as railway rails and bridges using an additive process. The present research investigates the use of additive friction-stir deposition (AFSD) to repair existing damage in rail systems and also retrofit those systems to improve load carrying capacity, wear and fatigue resistance. The effort focuses on the development of a solid-state additive manufacturing system capable of printing on contoured surfaces by implementing a Stewart platform. Aermet 100 and 1045 steel was deposited on railway rail pieces with and without using a shielding gas. Three-point bend testing was used to evaluate the repaired rail material under loading conditions similar to trafficking. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the unique requirements and needs of infrastructure repair for large systems like bridges and railways.
  • Learn about the repairs conducted, resulting outcomes and MELD hardware developed specifically for in field infrastructure repair.