A review on modelling and monitoring of railway ballast

  • Received : 2017.08.26
  • Accepted : 2017.09.07
  • Published : 2017.09.25


Nowadays, railway system plays a significant role in transportation, conveying cargo, passengers, minerals, grains, and so forth. Railway ballasted track is a conventional railway track as can be seen all over the world. Ballast, located underneath the sleepers, is the most important elements on ballasted track, which has many functions and requires routine maintenance. Ballast needs to be maintained frequently to prevent rail buckling, settlement, misalignment so that ballast has to be modelled accurately. Continuum model was introduced to model granular material and was extended in ballast. However, ballast is a heterogeneous material with highly nonlinear behaviour. Hence, ballast could not be modelled accurately in continuum model due to the discontinuities nature and material degradation of ballast. Discrete element modelling (DEM) is proposed as an alternative approach that provides insight into constitutive model, realistic particle, and contact algorithm between each particle. DEM has been studied in many recent decades. However, there are limitations due to the high computational time and memory consumption, which cause the lack of using in high range. This paper presents a review of recent ballast modelling with benefits and drawbacks. Ballast particles are illustrated either circular, circular crump, spherical, spherical crump, super-quadric, polygonal and polyhedral. Moreover, the gaps and limitations of previous studies are also summarized. The outcome of this study will help the understanding into different ballast modelling and particle. The insight information can be used to improve ballast modelling and monitoring for condition-based track maintenance.


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