Field trials for dynamic characteristics of railway tracks and its components using impact excitation technique



Publication Details

Kaewunruen, S. Remennikov, A. (2007). Field trials for dynamic characteristics of railway tracks and its components using impact excitation technique. NDT and E International, 40 (7), 510-519. >


Assessment of condition of railway track is crucial for track design, repair, and effective maintenance operations. In-field dynamic testing in combination with track modelling represents an efficient strategy for identification of the current condition of railway track structure and its components. Field investigations for the dynamic characteristics of a railway track and its components were carried out and are presented in this paper. A non-destructive technique using impact excitation, so-called modal testing, was utilized in these trials. Integrated approach combining field measurements, experimental modal analysis, and finite element modelling to evaluate the dynamic parameters of the in situ railway track components are appended. A ballasted railway track site in Central Queensland managed by Queensland Rail (QR) was selected to perform the field tests. Six sleeper-fastening-rail assemblies were selected for dynamic testing. The frequency response functions (FRFs) were recorded by using Bruel Kjaer PULSE vibration analyser in a frequency domain between 0 and 1600 Hz. The data obtained were best fitted using the least-square technique to determine the dynamic stiffness and damping constants of the tested track components. In addition, the experimentally determined resonance frequencies along with the dynamic properties of the track components can provide an important input for determining the maximum speed and axle load for the future track upgrades. This paper also points out on how to judge the dynamic responses (e.g. FRFs) together with the visual inspection of existing conditions from the field experience. Examples of testing results representing the deficient integrity are additionally highlighted. Based on the results, the impact excitation technique is an efficient method susceptible to the structural integrity of railway track structures.>

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