Effect of a large asymmetrical wheel burden on flexural response and failure of railway concrete sleepers in track systems
In many railway networks, the dynamic loads on the track can be detected and they are highly diverse. In most cases, the dynamic wheel load could be treated as a quasi-static load whereas it is later employed in flexural response and failure analysis of railway structures, according to the current design standard: AS1085. This paper presents the effect of a large asymmetrical wheel load on the flexural response and failure criteria of the concrete sleepers in railway track systems. The finite element model updating of the concrete sleeper was earlier established and verified against experimental dynamic characteristics by the authors. Using a finite element package STRAND7, the nonlinear finite element model is capable of simulating the tensionless ballast support whereas the supporting boundary condition provides resistance to only compression. The numerical investigations are carried out to provide guiding criteria to railway track engineers for crack and failure analysis of the railway concrete sleeper subjected to a large quasi-static asymmetrical wheel burden. The normalized quasi-static responses are demonstrated in order to illustrate the critical effect of the large wheel unbalance on the flexural responses of the concrete sleeper in railway track system.