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Stress changes in the ground below ballasted railway track during train passage

Powrie, W., Yang, L.A and Clayton, C.R.I. (2007) Stress changes in the ground below ballasted railway track during train passage Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 221, (2), pp. 247-262. (doi:10.1243/0954409JRRT95).

Record type: Article


The design of railway track formations has traditionally been empirically rather than analytically based, with ballast and sub-ballast layer thicknesses specified mainly on the basis of previous practice. Recent design methods are more scientifically based, and for the most advanced design methods currently in use, input parameters are typically determined from cyclic triaxial testing. The changes in stress experienced by an element of soil below a railway track as a train passes are complex, involving (for example) a cyclic rotation of the principal stress directions. In these conditions, soil element testing in uniaxial compression may lead to the underestimation of vertical strains. Testing in a hollow cylinder apparatus, which can impose the rotations in principal stress direction likely to be experienced by a soil element in the field, may therefore be preferable to triaxial testing. However, there are as yet no data to guide the designer to a rational specification of a testing programme in this more complex apparatus. This article reports the results of finite element analyses carried out to investigate the stress changes experienced by an element of soil beneath a ballasted railway track during train passage. The effects of element location, the initial in situ stress state of the soil, and the elastic parameters used to characterize its behaviour are investigated, and the modelling of the stress paths in a cyclic hollow cylinder apparatus is discussed.

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More information

Published date: 1 February 2007
Keywords: principal stress rotation, railway track, numerical modelling and analysis, hollow cylinder apparatus


Local EPrints ID: 52999
ISSN: 0954-4097
PURE UUID: b177fa63-6999-474f-900f-4dfad8fbdcf2
ORCID for W. Powrie: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Jul 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:39

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