Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Mechanism of the Sleeper-Ballast Dynamic Impact in Void Zones

Version 1 : Received: 1 July 2021 / Approved: 2 July 2021 / Online: 2 July 2021 (15:39:20 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Sysyn, M.; Przybylowicz, M.; Nabochenko, O.; Liu, J. Mechanism of Sleeper–Ballast Dynamic Impact and Residual Settlements Accumulation in Zones with Unsupported Sleepers. Sustainability 2021, 13, 7740. Sysyn, M.; Przybylowicz, M.; Nabochenko, O.; Liu, J. Mechanism of Sleeper–Ballast Dynamic Impact and Residual Settlements Accumulation in Zones with Unsupported Sleepers. Sustainability 2021, 13, 7740.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 7740
DOI: 10.3390/su13147740

Abstract

Unsupported sleepers or void zones in ballasted tracks are one of the most recent and frequent track failures. The void failures have the property of intensive development that, without timely maintenance measures, can cause the appearance of cost-expensive local instabilities like subgrade damages. The reason of the intensive void development lies in the mechanics of the sleeper and ballast bed interaction. The particularity of the interaction is a dynamic impact that occur due to void closure. Additionally, void zones cause inhomogeneous ballast pressure distribution between the void zone and fully supported neighbour zones. The present paper is devoted studying the mechanism of the sleeper-ballast dynamic impact in the void zone. The results of experimental in-situ measurements of rail deflections showed the significant impact accelerations in the zone even for light-weight slow vehicles. A simple 3-beam numerical model of track and rolling stock interaction has shown the similar to the experimental measurements dynamic interaction. Moreover, the model shows that the sleeper accelerations are more than 3 times higher than the corresponding wheel accelerations and the impact point appear before the wheel enters the impact point. The analysis of ballast loadings shows the specific impact behaviour in combination with the quasistatic part that is different for void and neighbour zones, which are characterised with high ballast pre-stressed conditions. The analysis of void sizes influence demonstrate that the impact loadings, wheel and sleeper maximal accelerations appear at certain void depth after which the values decrease. The ballast quasistatic loading analysis indicates more than twice increase of the ballast loading in neighbour zones for long voids and almost full quasistatic unloading for short length voids. However, the used imitation model cannot explain the nature of the dynamic impact. The mechanism of the void impact is clearly explained by the analytic solution using a simple clamped beam. A simplified analytical expression of the void impact velocity shows that it is linearly related to the wheel speed and loading. The comparison to the numerically simulated impact velocities shows a good agreement and the existence of the void depth with the maximal impact. An estimation of the long-term influences for the cases of normal sleeper loading, high ballast pre-stress and quasistatic loading in the neighbour zones and high impact inside the void are performed.

Subject Areas

ballasted track; unsupported sleepers; sleeper-ballast dynamic impact; dynamic simulation; analytic solution; discrete element modelling

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