Effect of particle shape, size and particle friction in granular solid flow in railway ballast

The aim is to develop a new understanding of the micromechanics of railway trackbed subjected to dynamic loads induced by high speed trains. This should lead to safer design of high-speed railway systems which require less maintenance and, therefore, are more sustainable.

Ever greater demands are being placed on rail networks around the world. Lack of funding for additional infrastructure means that growing traffic on existing infrastructure pushes the operating limits of the existing infrastructure – the extra traffic is included through a combination of higher train speeds to run more services and higher axle loads to carry more per train. In many cases High Speed Rail (HSR) utilises embankments that are of the ballasted type – this is particularly true in the case of mixed use track. DEM is ideally suited to use to study the ballasted railway infrastructure considering the naturally discrete inhomogeneous structure.

The research is focused on quantifying the effect of particle shape, size and packing structure on the stress distribution and deformation patterns that develop in the ballast-track system and providing scientific insights into the ballasted tracks deformation modes. It will explore the interplay between inter-particle contact friction and geometric interaction due to ballast interlocking in producing the complex dynamic responses observed in trackbed.


Principal Investigator: 


Postgraduate Researchers: 

Quisheng Gu

Research Institutes: 

  • Infrastructure and Environment

Research Themes: 

  • Granular Mechanics and Industrial Infrastructure

Last modified: 

Friday, May 14, 2021 - 11:25