Why Railroads Don’t Need Expansion Joints

From “Practical Engineering”. ( YouTube / Nebula )

A friendly overview of thermal effects on railways.

🚆 Watch the entire railway series here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTZM4MrZKfW-DUovVfoD_EfOwXTY1Zog5&si=Wc3am9N14wuNou16

Errata: At 9:00, the left column of calculations is incorrectly labeled "SI." It should be imperial. Whoops!

Just as all materials have a mostly linear relationship between temperature change and length change, all materials also have a similar relationship between stress and change in length (often called strain). And this is part of the secret to continuous welded rail: restrained thermal expansion. You can overcome one with the other.

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Practical Engineering is a YouTube channel about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by Grady Hillhouse. We have new videos posted regularly, so please subscribe for updates. If you enjoyed the video, hit that ‘like’ button, give us a comment, or watch another of our videos!

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This is not engineering advice. Everything here is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact an engineer licensed to practice in your area if you need professional advice or services. All non-licensed clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes.

This video is sponsored by Brilliant.
Stock video and imagery provided by Getty Images, Shutterstock, and Videoblocks.
Music by Epidemic Sound: http://epidemicsound.com/creator
Tonic and Energy by Elexive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6fBPdu8w9U
Video by Grady Hillhouse
Edited by Wesley Crump
Produced by Ralph Crewe
Graphics by Nebula Studios