Investigating geogrid-reinforced ballast: Experimental pull-out tests and discrete element modelling
This paper presents an evaluation of the interlocking behaviour of geogrid-reinforced railway ballast. Experimental large box pull-out tests were conducted to examine the interaction between ballast and a biaxial geogrid. The discrete element method (DEM) was then used to model the interaction between the ballast and the geogrid by simulating large box pull-out tests and comparing the findings with the experimental results. Four different shapes of clumps were used to represent each ballast particle in order to obtain an acceptable shape for modelling the railway ballast. The DEM simulation results were shown to provide good predictions of the pull-out resistance and to examine the effect of clump shape on both the pull-out resistance and the distribution of contact forces. Therefore, the calibrated geogrid model and the 8-ball tetrahedral clumps, used as ballast particles, hold much promise for investigating the interaction between geogrids and ballast, and thus, optimising performance.