Analysis of the performance and failure of railroad concrete crossties with various track support conditions

by Bastos Josué César

Institution: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Year: 2016
Keywords: Concrete crossties; railroad track infrastructure; flexural analysis; support conditions
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2123209
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90659


In North America, the use of concrete crossties has increased steadily over the past decade as they have emerged as an economic alternative to timber crossties to accommodate heavy axle freight train loads. As the number of concrete crossties has grown, the importance of understanding the performance of these components has also increased. This is especially true given derailments have been linked to the condition of concrete crossties and therefore an improved understanding is critical to ensure a safe and reliable operation of the track. Currently, the behavior of poorly supported or degraded concrete crossties and their fastening system components is not fully understood, but it is widely accepted that these conditions may have a significant influence on the demands placed on concrete crossties. To quantitatively describe the correlation between support conditions and concrete crosstie performance, laboratory experiments were conducted. The main variables analyzed are bending moments and the gage widening effect due to bending of concrete crossties. In addition to support conditions, the effect of crosstie center cracking is also quantified, initiating a discussion on how to define concrete crosstie failure. Using statistical tools, the experimental results are presented and discussed in this thesis. The findings of this work can impact different groups related to the railway industry, including manufacturers of concrete crossties, railroads, AREMA, the FRA, and research institutions.