Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Ties That Bind: Making High-speed Rail Tracks Safer Focus of Research

26.05.2011
High-speed rail is poised to rapidly expand across the U.S. and a trio of Kansas State University engineering professors intend to help riders arrive safely.

The professors have received more than $1.2 million from the Federal Railroad Administration and K-State Transportation Center to study prestressed concrete railroad ties. The professors are Bob Peterman, professor of civil engineering; Terry Beck, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering; and John Wu, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, along with Pelle Duong, chief engineer at CXT Concrete Tie. The Federal Railroad Administration grant is for $899,270 and the additional funding is coming from CXT Concrete Ties and the K-State Transportation Center.

High-speed rail requires prestressed concrete railroad ties, as wooden cross ties are too flexible. For these ties to be effective, prestressing forces must be applied at a considerable distance before the rail load is applied. This is called the transfer length. To resist the heavy impacts the concrete ties utilize about 20 steel wires, each stressed to around 7,000 pounds. If the prestressed force is not properly transferred, failures can occur in the track.

Peterman has observed some of these crumbling ties in track.

"They cannot resist the load because they don't have all of that prestressed force applied," he said.

The project will focus on how to create an adequate bond between the steel wires and surrounding concrete. All factors will be examined, including the mixtures of concrete, wires and indents that allow for better bonding. The team will also develop a test that prestressed concrete producers can use to determine the bond capacity of specific types of wire.

The project will culminate in a trip to Tucson, Ariz., to conduct research at the CXT Concrete Ties' prestressed concrete plant. At the plant, ties with 12 different wires and three different strands that the team researches will be produced. The transfer length in those ties will then be measured. This is possible because of a device using laser-speckle imaging that was developed by the K-State research team along with Weixin Zhao, doctoral student in mechanical engineering. The laser-speckle device images the surface of the tie before and after detention and subsequently plots the strain profile.

"We can tell by the strain profile how far from the end of the tie the prestressed force is transferred with each of the different reinforcing types," Peterman said. "That's the culmination of the project."

The team will then make recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration on the appropriate methods to ensure good-bonding reinforcing steel, the best concrete and similar considerations for creating durable prestressed concrete ties. As part of this project, a fully automated laser-speckle device will be developed to allow for determination of transfer length within five minutes after the concrete ties are de-tensioned. The project began recently and will conclude in two and half years.

The project is coming full circle based on a previous collaboration with K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute. Ten years ago the institute funded Peterman, Beck and Wu to determine if laser-speckle technology could be applied to the measurement of concrete surface strains. In the current project the research team will use the institute's expertise to create a fully automated laser-speckle imaging device.

"It's a neat story within K-State," Peterman said. "I'm looking forward to working with the entire team at AMI."

Despite many logistical issues with high-speed rail, Peterman is confident about its future.

"We will see higher-speed rail in this country," he said.

Bob Peterman, 785-532-7612, bob@k-state.edu

Bob Peterman | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>