Research Papers

A Discrete Element Approach to Model Breakable Railway Ballast

[+] Author and Article Information
Christian Ergenzinger

Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics,  University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germanychristian.ergenzinger@itm.uni-stuttgart.de

Robert Seifried

Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics,  University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germanyrobert.seifried@itm.uni-stuttgart.de

Peter Eberhard1

Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics,  University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germanypeter.eberhard@itm.uni-stuttgart.de


Corresponding author.

J. Comput. Nonlinear Dynam 7(4), 041010 (Jun 22, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006731 History: Received October 19, 2011; Revised April 09, 2012; Published June 22, 2012; Online June 22, 2012

A discrete element approach to assess degradation processes in ballast beds is presented. Firstly, a discrete element model describing strength and failure of strong rock is introduced. For this purpose a granular solid is created by bonding of adjacent particles. A method to define angular ballast stones made from the granular solid is proposed. The strength of these stones is evaluated by compression between parallel platens. Comparing these results to published experimental data yields very good qualitative and reasonable quantitative agreement. Finally, the failure of aggregates of breakable stones is investigated by simulation of oedometric compression tests and indentation of a sleeper into a ballast bed.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Stress-strain curves for different confining pressures σ3

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Figure 2

Two-dimensional sketch of the ballast stone shaping approach

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Figure 3

A typical ballast stone

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Figure 4

Two realizations of ballast stones. Distance from the origin (located approximately at the center of the stones) color coded in order to clarify the shape.

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Figure 5

Upper (dashed-dotted) and lower (dash) contact areas in a single stone compression test

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Figure 6

Weibull plots of different measures of strength for N=700

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Figure 7

Snapshot of an aggregate of 90 stones at the onset of catastrophic failure in oedometric compression. In the right picture only those particles are shown that have been involved in two or more bond breakage events.

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Figure 8

Development of strain and breaking of bonds during stress controlled oedometric compression

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Figure 9

Simulation of a ballast bed loaded by a sleeper

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Figure 10

Development of stress and breaking of bonds during strain controlled loading of a ballast bed




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