Novel Bending Test Method for Polymer Railway Sleeper Material

Salih, Choman ORCID: and Manalo, Allan ORCID: and Ferdous, Wahid ORCID: and Abousnina, Rajab and Yu, Peng and Heyer, Tom and Schubel, Peter ORCID: (2021) Novel Bending Test Method for Polymer Railway Sleeper Material. Polymers, 13 (9). pp. 1-22.

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Alternative sleeper technologies have been developed to address the significant need for the replacement of deteriorating timber railway sleepers. The review of the literature indicates that the railway sleepers might fail while in service, despite passing the evaluation tests of the current composite sleeper standards which indicated that these tests do not represent in situ sleeper on ballast. In this research, a new five-point bending test is developed to evaluate the flexural behaviour of timber replacement sleeper technologies supported by ballast. Due to the simplicity, acceptance level of evaluation accuracy and the lack of in-service behaviour of alternative sleepers, this new testing method is justified with the bending behaviour according to the Beam on Elastic Foundation theory. Three timber replacement sleeper technologies—plastic, synthetic composites and low-profile prestressed concrete sleepers in addition to timber sleepers—were tested under service loading condition to evaluate the suitability of the new test method. To address the differences in the bending of the sleepers due to their different modulus of elasticities, the most appropriate material for the middle support was also determined. Analytical equations of the bending moments with and without middle support settlement were also developed. The results showed that the five-point static bending test could induce the positive and negative bending moments experienced by railway sleepers under a train wheel load. It was also found that with the proposed testing spans, steel-EPDM rubber is the most suitable configuration for low bending modulus sleepers such as plastic, steel-neoprene for medium modulus polymer sleepers and steel-steel for very high modulus sleepers such as concrete. Finally, the proposed bending moment equations can precisely predict the flexural behaviour of alternative sleepers under the five-point bending test.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Future Materials (1 Jan 2017 -)
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2022 03:54
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2022 04:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: Beam on Elastic Foundation (BOEF); Composite sleeper; Five‐point bending test; In‐track sleeper behaviour; Timber replacement sleeper
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090503 Construction Materials
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090506 Structural Engineering
09 Engineering > 0912 Materials Engineering > 091202 Composite and Hybrid Materials
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400510 Structural engineering
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 87 Construction > 8703 Construction Materials Performance and Processes > 870305 Timber Materials
B Economic Development > 88 Transport > 8801 Ground Transport > 880102 Rail Infrastructure and Networks
B Economic Development > 87 Construction > 8703 Construction Materials Performance and Processes > 870303 Polymeric Materials (e.g. Paints)
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