- Track Dynamics, Advanced Simulation and Design Innovation
- Materials Selection and Construction Processes
- Sustainable Rail Infrastructure using Recycled and Non-traditional Materials
- Health Monitoring, safety and reliability
Research Program 1
Program 1 will focus on innovative design and construction technologies to accommodate increased axle loads and train speeds for heavy haul tracks whilst also improving safety and stability.
Fundamentals of ground structure interaction mechanisms, digital process simulations, study of cyclic load deformation response of track components and substructure materials and wheel-rail interface dynamics will be integrated to develop rigorous track design solutions through understanding of composite material behavior. This program also encourages new manufacturing approaches for intelligent vibratory rollers.
The aim is to pioneer new methods of analysis for track design, tackling train/track interaction problems including excessive noise and vibration, passenger comfort, ballast degradation and progressive track misalignment.
ACRI, SMEC, MTM, CREEC, TfNSW
Research Program 2
Program 2 will focus on new fabrication processes including at the nano-scale for track components from both natural and synthetic materials manufactured/processed in Australia including steel rail, insulated rail joints, concrete sleepers, quarried aggregates (ballast and sub-ballast), rubber and plastic inclusions.
Limited research has been done to enhance composite materials performance under fatigue i.e. sleeper-rail fastener-wheel assembly and the deformational characteristics of a single material zone (i.e. ballast layer) under harsh dynamic loading which often leads to particle degradation, fatigue, yielding and fracturing of track components.
ITTC-Rail will examine the behaviour of track components via an integrated program of field and laboratory testing using innovative field instrumentation.
NuRock, IT, Geofrontiers, Tensar, TfNSW
- 3D laser scanning microscope system
- ultra-thin strip rolling mill
- dynamic pavement and track simulator
- 3D printers
- tribological roller-on-disk test rig
- software (MARC, DEFORM, MATLAB)
- field trial
Research Program 3
Program 3 will focus on the application of recyclable products such as waste rubber tyres, steel and coal industry by-products (e.g. slag and coalwash) and marginal rockfill in track construction while stamping a favourable carbon footprint.
Adopting advanced material characterisation and processing techniques that capture energy absorbing properties and custom-made rubber sheets to reduce noise and vibration and particle interlocking via plastic geogrids for improved track stability and cellular membranes – made of used tyres – for containing substructure fill (e.g. rockfills, coalwash and steel slag).
The construction costs can be reduced substantially while improving safety and track stability. It is hoped we will also introduce a novel type of hybrid sleepers where reinforced rubberised concrete is confined by a thin composite layer made of reinforced polymer to restrain internal cracking and to protect the sleeper against corrosion and attrition.
ACRI, BC, ECOFLEX.
- Large-scale cyclic triaxial
- simple shear testing rigs
- Drop-weight impact test rig
- numerical software (e.g. ANSYS MATLAB, ABAQUS)
Research Program 4
Program 4 will focus on accurate prediction and track performance under realistic dynamic loading and being able to estimate the lifespan of track elements and associated maintenance costs and imperative for sustainable railroad operations.
Conventional vibrating wire instruments do not provide precise data when subjected to rapid and dynamic moving loads. Recent use of sensor technology using optical fibre (FBGs) enabled much improved accuracy in heavy haul tracks for the first time in Australia.
ACRI, MTM, NuRock
- wear testing rigs
- micro-electromechanical and optical fibre sensors
- numerical software including ABAQUS
- field trial