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Customer Service. In The Spotlight. The substantial role of ballast in railway track as well as the needs of periodic, costly maintenance for ballast to sustain its functions leads to raise the researches and reviews on understanding the mechanical behavior of ballast under repetitive loading for better design and less periodic maintenance. Discrete Element Method is a numerical method to solve mathematical problems associated to discrete characteristic material like granular material. Each particle has its own properties of displacement, velocity, acceleration and contact forces.

Cundall [6,7] introduced the DEM by modelling the progressive failure of rock material in the early 70s. The main principles of DEM mechanism are illustrated in Figure 2. Each distinct element in DEM model has six degrees of freedom based on two types of motion; translation and rotation.

Mechanics of Ballasted Rail Tracks - A geotechnical Perspective

The main objective of DEM is to calculate those finite rotations and displacements due to interactions of each distinct element during simulation time as shown in Figure 3. Particle shape should be efficient to accurately describe the real shape and at the same it should be simple enough to reduce the computational time. Spherical shape is used widely in DEM models due to its geometrical simplicity and the availability of contact models.

Therefore, the multi-spheres approach clump is used in this research to model railroad ballast by which number of overlapped or touched spheres are created to form a cluster. Figure 4 shows an example of ballast aggregates modelled as spherical clumps.

Study of ballast layer stiffness in railway tracks

Waters, Track geotechnology and substructure management: Thomas Telford, Ionescu, and H. Christie," Shear behavior of railway ballast based on large-scale triaxial tests", Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Vol. Dell'Olio, J. Casado, I.

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Rujikiatkamjorn," Discrete element modelling of lateral displacement of a granular assembly under cyclic loading", Computers and Geotechnics Vol.