A nonlinear wear model for a cylinder rolling over a periodically varying surface is derived from the theory of half spaces. The model describes how some irregularities on the surface are amplified whereas others are levelled out as the number of cylinder passages increases. This is a pure nonlinear contact mechanical effect independent of the dynamic response of the cylinder and the support. The aim of the present work is to demonstrate, that these nonlinearities, which often are neglected in models for wheel/rail interaction, play an important role in the evolution of corrugation of rails.

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