Laboratory and field investigation of the rail pad assembly mechanistic behavior

Thiago B. Do Carmo, J. Riley Edwards, Ryan G. Kernes, Bassem O. Andrawes, Chris P.L. Barkan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


To achieve the performance demands due to growing heavy-haul freight operations and increased high-speed rail service worldwide, advancements in concrete crosstie fastening ystems are required. A mechanistic design approach based on scientific principles and derived from extensive laboratory and field investigation has the potential to improve the current best practices in fastening system design. The understanding of failure modes and effects on each component, associated with an improved understanding of load distribution and mechanical behavior, will ultimately increase production and operational efficiency while reducing unscheduled maintenance, track outages, and unplanned additional costs. Improvements on the rail pad assemblies, the components responsible for attenuating loads and protecting the concrete crosstie rail seat, will enhance the safety and efficiency of the track infrastructure. Understanding the mechanistic behavior of rail pad assemblies is critical to improving the performance and life cycle of the infrastructure and its components, which will ultimately reduce the occurrence of potential failure modes. Lateral, longitudinal, and shear forces exerted on the components of the fastening system may result in displacements and deformations of the rail pad with respect to the rail seat and rail base. The high stresses and relative movements are expected to contribute to multiple failure mechanisms and result in an increased need for costly maintenance activities. Therefore, the analysis of the mechanics of pad assemblies is important for the improvement of railroad superstructure component design and performance. In this study, the lateral displacement of this component with respect to the rail base and rail seat is analyzed. The research ultimately aims to investigate the hypothesis that relative displacement between the rail pad and rail seat occurs under realistic loading environments and that the magnitude of the displacement is directly related to the increase in wheel loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 Joint Rail Conference, JRC 2014
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Print)9780791845356
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event2014 Joint Rail Conference, JRC 2014 - Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Duration: Apr 2 2014Apr 4 2014

Publication series

Name2014 Joint Rail Conference, JRC 2014


Other2014 Joint Rail Conference, JRC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityColorado Springs, CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation


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