Estimating Deterioration in the Concrete Tie-Ballast Interface Based on Vertical Tie Deflection Profile: A Numerical Study
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Estimating Deterioration in the Concrete Tie-Ballast Interface Based on Vertical Tie Deflection Profile: A Numerical Study

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  • English

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    • Abstract:
      In ballasted concrete tie track, the tie-ballast interface can

      deteriorate resulting in concrete tie bottom abrasion, ballast

      pulverization and/or voids in tie-ballast interfaces. Tie-ballast

      voids toward tie ends can lead to unfavorable center binding

      support conditions that can result in premature concrete tie

      failure and possible train derailment. Direct detection of these

      conditions is difficult. There is a strong interest in assessing the

      concrete tie-ballast interface conditions indirectly using

      measured vertical deflections.

      This paper seeks to establish a link between the vertical

      deflection profile of a concrete tie top surface and the tie-ballast

      interface condition using the finite element analysis (FEA)

      method. The concrete tie is modeled as a concrete matrix

      embedded with prestressing steel strands or wires. The

      configurations of two commonly used concrete ties, one with 8

      prestressing strands and the other with 20 prestressing wires, are

      employed in this study. All models are three-dimensional and

      symmetric about the tie center. A damaged plasticity model that

      can predict onset and propagation of tensile cracks is applied to

      the concrete material. The steel-concrete interface is

      homogenized and represented with a thin layer of cohesive

      elements sandwiched between steel and concrete elements.

      Strand- or wire-specific elasto-plastic bond models developed at

      the Volpe Center are applied to the cohesive elements to account

      for the interface bonding mechanisms. FE models are developed

      for both original and worn concrete ties, with the latter assuming

      hypothetical patterns of reduced cross sections resulting from

      abrasive interactions with the ballast. Static analyses of

      pretension release in these concrete ties are conducted, and

      vertical deflection gradients along tie lengths are calculated and

      shown to correspond well with the worn cross sectional patterns

      for a given reinforcement type.

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