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In this study, the failure modes of cartwheel and mechanical properties of materials have been analyzed. The results show that rim cracking is always initiated from stringer-type alumina cluster and driven by a combination effect of mechanical and thermal load. The strength, toughness, and ductility are mainly determined by the carbon content of wheel steels. The fatigue crack growth resistance is insensitive to composition and microstructure, while the fatigue crack initiation life increases with the decrease of austenite grain size and pearlite colony size. The dynamic fracture toughness, KID, is obviously lower than static fracture toughness, KIC, and has the same trend as KIC. The ratio of KID/sigma YD is the most reasonable parameter to evaluate the fracture resistance of wheel steels with different composition and yield strength. Decreasing carbon content is beneficial to the performance of cartwheel.

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