Running on Straight Rails


Boffins in Austria have been studying railway tracks to better understand the residual stresses that result from straightening them during processing.

Roller straightening is the final step in production of the rails, after hot rolling is performed at around 1000&degree;C cooling (presumably with water spray) results in curvature of the rails. This varies depending on the rail geometry and cooling conditions.

Results from finite element modelling, and measurement of stresses using the contour method and neutron diffraction were compared. The model matches the trends of the measurements in the vertical plane (possibly the mode important since it has the largest residual stresses). In the paper comparison of neutron results for triaxial stresses shows there are residual stresses in the plane perpendicular to the vertical through the rail tool, although these were not predicted by the FEM model.

Residual Stresses Residual Stresses along vertical symmetry axis


  2. R. Kaiser, M. Stefenelli, T…

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Bainite in Steels


Harry Bhadeshia’s book Bainite in Steels has reached it’s third edition. It’s available on pre-order at a price of 80 UKP and will be available from April. The third addition has an additional 40% more content to cover the developments of the 15 years of research since the previous edition.

This book is highly recommended for those who have an interest in the physical metallurgy of steels, alloy design, and solid-solid transformations.

Cover image for Bainite in Steels, 3rd Edition. Cover image for Bainite in Steels, 3rd Edition.

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Sharks attracted to steel

Sharks can recognise steel cages, they will become associated with food due to feeding bait.


Cage diving was invented by a diver who survived an attack by a shark. Wanting to return to the sea he was inspired by the lions cage in Melbourne zoo.

At first it was thought the sharks were attracted to the people in the cage, but later it was observed that sharks also investigated empty cages. It turns out that they are attracted to the steel. I wonder if this is electrical effect, or if they are usually attracted to the iron in blood? Dissolving iron from the cage may seem similar to haemoglobin.

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Adventures in Physical Metallurgy of Steels

World in numbers, March 2014


529 sentenced to death in Egypt
A judge in Egypt sentenced 529 protesters/rioters/muslim brotherhood supports to death for the murder of a policeman. Apparantly he did this in the second session of the case, without hearing prosecution or defence cases. Is this the way of refering to higher court in Egypt?

It seems like the judge hadn’t heard of the phrase “an eye for an eye.”

239 people lost during flight
Flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew is still missing, Malaysian PM announced that the flight ended in the South Indian Ocean based on analysis of satellite data. Malaysian airline and government have both recieved a lot of criticism over the handling of the incident; protests have been made outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing and Chinese government officials called on the Malaysian government to release satellite data to them for analysis. The search area has been narrowed…

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Geoguessr – geography game


Geoguessr is an entertaining way to pass time, and see the world from your computer. Your screen will position you with random view from google streetview, and you have to click on a world map to locate your position. The closer you get, the higher the score, if you get the location within 12 m the score is 6479. Repeat 5 times and sum the scores.

My high score was 10702.

Screenshot from geogussr (iceweasel) Screenshot from geogussr (iceweasel)

Geoguessr has also been developed into a UK version (the poster child of fish and chips?) which can be played here: — released as a Beta version.

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1 month’s free access to “Materials Science and Technology”


Maney publishing have made Materials Science and Technology to be their Journal of the month — if you sign up you can access the journal and back issues (from 1985 onwards) for the whole of November.
We also have access to all the publications of the Royal Society for the whole of November Royal society celebrate open access week.

So the question is, which papers should we be reading from MST/ Phil Mag/ Proceedings of the Royal Society during November?

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