Copper Containing Rail Steel
Glenn Eavenson, Mark Richards, Greg Lehnhoff, Joe Kristan, Jarred Froman,
David Matlock, and Emmanuel De Moor
Summary: Cooper alloy rail steel for improved hardness, toughness, wear resistance, fatigue, and
tensile properties.
Description: Efficient railroad transportation systems require that railroad rails withstand the
demands of high-axle loads, acceleration and deceleration friction and stress, and high usage.
Wear of rail is a major economical and safety concern for railroads, particularly in curved sections.
This work discloses compositions of steel railroad rails that contain carbon, manganese, silicone,
and copper, that have improved hardness, toughness, wear resistance, fatigue, and tensile
properties. In particular, copper and other tramp elements are contained in steel scrap with is
used to make the rails. Because these elements are difficult to remove, their concentrations
increase with each recycling process unless they are diluted with products from primary
steelmaking operations. The accumulative nature of copper in recycled steels is further
exacerbated by the increased use of copper containing electrical components in automobiles and
Main Advantages of this Invention
 Improved physical properties (e.g., hardness, toughness, wear resistance, fatigue, and
tensile properties) of railroad rail.
 Lowers production cost by requiring less dilution of the lower grade steel scrap with
higher grade scrap, pig iron, and direct reduced iron
Potential Areas of Application
 Heavy haul rail steel
 Building materials
ID number: 16007
Intel ectual Property Status: US provisional application filed in June 2016.
Opportunity: We are seeking an exclusive or non-exclusive licensee for marketing,
manufacturing, and sale of this technology.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: