DEM study on the dynamic responses of a ballasted track under moving loading

Publication Name

Computers and Geotechnics


This paper presents the discrete element modeling of the dynamic response of a ballasted track under moving loads. The DEM model, consisting of sleepers, ballast, and sub-ballast, has been calibrated using field and laboratory data. This model was further used to examine the dynamic responses of the ballasted track subjected to a series of moving traffic loading representing various train axle loads and speeds. The results show that the permanent settlement of the sleeper, the breakage of ballast, and the dynamic stresses in the track substructure increase with an increase in train axle load and speed. As the train moves, the magnitudes of dynamic stresses and the orientations of principal stress axes in the track change continuously, and a more pronounced principal stress rotation is observed at sleeper edges than those underneath sleepers. The capping layer is found to play a critical role in reducing train-induced stress and further alleviating the disturbance from the trains to the subgrade. The interparticle contacts and the vibration of ballast during the movement of the train including the influences of train axle load and speed on the dynamic responses of ballasted railway tracks are captured and analyzed from a micromechanical perspective.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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