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Railcar Wheels Subsurface Defect Monitoring Using Ultrasonics

Webinar and Q&A presented by Anish Poudel, Ph.D., and Brian Lindeman of Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI).

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This webinar focuses on a specific high-speed application of automated ultrasonic testing in the railroad industry. Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) sponsored by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has researched, helped develop, and tested an automated cracked wheel detection system (ACWDS) capable of inspecting railcar wheels on moving trains. The system implements arrays of spring-loaded ultrasonic probes aligned within a segment of a special track. Validation of the system was performed using the heavy axle load (HAL) test train (consisting of about 120 cars, each car weighing 39-ton axle load). This train operates nightly at the high tonnage loop (HTL) located at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST), TTC near Pueblo, CO, and accumulates service wear at a rapid rate.

Attendees will learn how biweekly inspections using the automated cracked wheel detection system (ACWDS) were performed to detect wheel defects and, once the wheels were alarmed, conventional handheld UT tests were conducted to confirm the ACWDS findings. To date, the verification hand scans have been in close agreement with the ACWDS reports. Some of these wheels were tracked over time to gain insight into crack growth rates. Others were removed if deemed a safety risk to operations.


Anish Poudel, Ph.D.

Anish Poudel, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) within the Research and Development department of the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI). Dr. Poudel brings over 10 years of research, development, and testing experience in the field of NDE for different applications. He has authored over 80 technical publications and presentations in the field of NDE and has one patent. Prior to joining TTCI, Dr. Poudel was a laboratory supervisor and full-time instructor at the Department of Mechanical and Engineering Processes (MEEP) at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). His honors include the 2019 International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Emerging Railway Professionals Award, the 2018 ASNT Mentoring Award, and the 2014 ASNT Young NDT Professional Award. He holds Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

Brian Lindeman

Brian Lindeman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology and has over 20 years of NDE related experience in rails, from the manufacturing to proving rails up in the revenue environment. As Senior Engineer for Nondestructive Evaluation at Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), he is responsible for all aspects of on-site NDE testing and he currently provides technical support on several AAR- and FRA-sponsored research projects, which include rail inspection technology, wheel/axle inspection technology, technology-driven train Inspections (TDTI), and tank car NDE. He also supports various customers in testing new NDE methods at TTCI. Mr. Lindeman attained his NDT Level III certification in 2013, and he is currently serving as a board member in the ASNT Colorado Section.

About American Society for Nondestructive Testing

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc. (ASNT) is the world's largest technical society for nondestructive testing (NDT) professionals. Through our organization and membership, we provide a forum for exchange of NDT technical information; NDT educational materials and programs; and standards and services for the qualification and certification of NDT personnel. ASNT promotes the discipline of NDT as a profession and facilitates NDT research and technology applications. 

ASNT Mission Statement

ASNT exists to create a safer world by advancing scientific, engineering, and technical knowledge in the field of nondestructive testing.™

 ASNT Strategic Objectives

  1. Increase participation in society’s activities.
  2. Promote an inclusive vision across ASNT’s membership and the NDT community.
  3. Be a premier provider of NDT/NDI/NDE/NDC information including publications, references, archives, training and conferences.
  4. Support national and international acceptance and use of ASNT’s services.
  5. Promote advancement of research and implementation of NDE technology.
  6. Grow ASNT through partnership with industry, government, professional organizations and educational institutions.
  7. Advocate and provide NDT personnel certification.
  8. Maintain ASNT’s fiscal stability in order to fulfill the society’s mission.
  9. ASNT will identify paths for lifelong education and career development within the NDT profession including theory, application and skills for the practitioner, engineer and researcher.
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