Concrete Crosstie Fastener Sub-System Testing and Modeling

UIUC Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UIUC-R01
Project TitleConcrete Crosstie Fastener Sub-System Testing and Modeling
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Project ManagerBarkan
Principal InvestigatorEdwards, Dersch, Kernes
PI Contact InformationPhone: (217) 244-7417 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$30,000 AAR Technology Scanning Program; $20,000 Amsted RPS; $50,000 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$100,000
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-05-16
End Date2013-12-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectThe primary objective of this project is to identify methods of improving concrete railroad crosstie fastening system design and performance by conducting a thorough investigation of the behavior of the fastening system using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and fundamental laboratory experiments. The primary failure mechanism of fastening system components is mechanical wear. Currently, the parameters that affect the wear rates and service life of the components are not fully understood, leading to an iterative and reactive design process. Several hypotheses exist related to extending the service life of fastening system components. These include decreasing the relative movement in the system by increasing the clamping force, decreasing the pressure by increasing component bearing area, and changing the boundary layers to more abrasion resistant materials. This project will focus specifically on the rail pad assembly and its contact interfaces with the concrete rail seat and rail base, respectively. The propensity of rail pad assemblies to resist lateral translational movement at the most critical interfaces will be evaluated for a variety pad moduli, thicknesses, frictional characteristics, etc. The effectiveness of altering the flow of shear forces through the pad assembly will be evaluated. By improving our understanding of the forces and displacement at various interfaces within the fastening system, sacrificial layers and components can be designed in order to ensure that relative movement and shear force transfer occurs at the most wear-resistant interfaces.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-UIUC-R01_Final_Report1.pdf