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 Laser rescue system for serious accidents
29.11.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

nachricht Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>