Laboratory assessment of the role of particle size distribution on the deformation and degradation of ballast under cyclic loading

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 2016, 142 (7)
Issue Date:
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© 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers. The deformation and degradation of ballast is influenced by the size of the aggregates. In this study, a series of cyclic drained triaxial tests was conducted on ballast with different sizes using the large-scale cylindrical triaxial apparatus designed and built at the University of Wollongong, and two different frequencies of cyclic loading were used to simulate low-speed and high-speed trains. From the laboratory results, coarse particles experience less vertical and lateral strains, whereas the volumetric strains decrease and then increase as the coefficient of uniformity increases, regardless of the loading frequency. Resistance to deformation and degradation is found to be improved by increasing ballast density. Different trends between the extent of breakage and particle size are observed for different breakage indices, and accordingly the extent of breakage is characterized into two distinct zones, depending on the coefficient of uniformity (Cu), where the significantly reduced breakage corresponds to a value of Cularger than 1.8. The variation of particle shape before and after test is also quantified. A new particle size distribution that incorporates the size characteristics is proposed, as a result of this study.
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