The railways’ perennial problem of corrosion of rails could soon be a thing of the past as scientists have developed rust-free rails, which are being tested in coastal areas.
The corrosion-resistant steel alloy rails have been developed by scientists of the department of materials and metallurgical engineering at IIT Kanpur, in association with the Steel Authority of India.
The rails use a mixture of nickel, chromium, cadmium and other metals that make them corrosion-resistant.
Several metal compositions of rails were developed by the scientists. It is only after various tests at a laboratory that the present composition was selected, said Prof. R. Balasubramaniam, a scientist with the metallurgical department at IIT Kanpur.
“It is an economically viable corrosion-preventive method. The idea is also to increase the life of the tracks,” he said.
Corrosion of rails, especially in the coastal regions, is a major problem that the railways has been facing for quite some time as rust reduces the life of a rail by almost one-fourth, Balasubramaniam said.