Tie Ballast Interface - In-Situ Assessment

UKY Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UKY-R05
Project TitleTie Ballast Interface - In-Situ Assessment
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
Project ManagerReg Souleyrette
Principal InvestigatorJerry Rose
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)
Total Project Cost$
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2013-08-31
End Date2015-09-28
Brief Description of Research ProjectThis serves as the first step in an exploration of the ballast-tie interface and its contributions to track quality deterioration and ballast fouling. It is hypothesized that the pressures at this interface are well in excess of assumed aggregate (average) pressures from pressure distribution models due to a low contact area between the upper layer of ballast and the bottom of the tie. Measuring the pressure magnitude and distribution at this interface will allow for better characterization of the mechanisms of ballast fouling underneath the tie. Methodology includes initial measurements of aggregate (average) pressures at the ballast tie interface to determine their consistency and distribution along a single tie, and between multiple ties. This will be done using more robust Earth Pressure Cells, from which multiple datasets can be gathered more economically. Matrix Based Tactile Surface Sensors (MBTSS) will then be used to determine contact area at the interface and the peak pressures acting on the ballast and tie unable to be measured with the Earth Pressure Cells. The goal at this step is to produce repeatable, consistent results from the MBTSS system in field testing. The scope of work includes determining the best installation procedure, where the sensors can feasibly be installed on the tie, how best to protect the system’s data acquisition device, and a means to protect the sensors from puncture and shear failure while in the trackbed. A secondary objective of the project is to develop a field calibration method for the MBTSS system. In past rail related research, the sensors have been calibrated in the lab. A field calibration system would allow the sensors to be calibrated before and after testing to immediately assess any
“drift” or change in the sensors output for a given load. Once a preferred method of testing using the MBTSS system has been developed, initial testing to compare the affects of wood and concrete ties will be performed.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURAIL2012-UKY-R05_and_2013-UKY-R07_Final_Report_Tie-Ballast1.pdf