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Large scale numerical wave propagation in a randomly-fluctuating continuum model of ballasted railway tracks

Abstract : The stronger competition with other means of transportation has increased the demand for performance in the railway industry. One way to achieve higher performance is using accurate numerical models to design/predict railways tracks behaviour. Two classes of numerical models are commonly used to predict the behaviour of these systems: (i) discrete approaches and (ii) continuum approaches. In the former, each grain of the ballast is represented by a rigid body and interacts with its neighbours through nonlinear contact forces using, for example, the nonsmooth contact dynamics method. Due to computational limits, this kind of method can only solve a few meters-length of ballast. The coupling with the soil under the ballast layer and with the sleepers also remains an open problem. In continuum approaches, the ballast is replaced by a homogenized continuum and the classical Finite Element (FE) Method (or similar) is used. However, they are normally used with homogeneous mechanical parameters, so that they do not represent fully the heterogeneity of the strains and stresses within the ballast layer. We investigate in this thesis an alternative approach using a stochastic heterogeneous continuum model, that can be solved with a FElike method while retaining to a large degree the heterogeneity of the stress and strain fields. The objective of this continuous model is to represent statistically the heterogeneity of the stress field in a continuum model as well as in a discrete granular model. To do this, the mechanical properties are represented using random fields. The present thesis is divided into three parts: (1) the construction of the model and the identification of the parameters of the continuum material (first-order marginal density, mean, variance, correlation model, and correlation length); (2) wave propagation in a ballasted railway track. (3) preliminary exploration of two experimental datasets. The first part sets the randomly-fluctuating continuum model and identifies the parameters of our continuum model on small cylindrical samples of discrete ballast. Continuum models equivalent to the discrete samples are generated and solved using the FE method, and the stochastic field used as mechanical properties. An optimization process is used to find a normalized variance for the stochastic heterogeneous material. The second part of this work concentrates on the solution of the dynamical equations on a large-scale model of a ballasted railway track using the Spectral Element Method. The influence of the heterogeneity is highlighted and studied. As a result, dispersion curves are obtained. Finally, the third part presents two distinct datasets of experimental measurements on ballast material: (1) a ballast box; (2) a train passage in a segment of ballasted railway track. Mobility curves were extracted from the ballast box experiment. An inverse problem was solved in order to estimate the homogenized wave velocity and local wave velocity in the medium. The trains pass-by recorded for the analysis of the vibration at medium frequencies.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 13, 2019 - 3:39:17 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 11:10:22 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02286362, version 1



Lúcio de Abreu Corrêa. Large scale numerical wave propagation in a randomly-fluctuating continuum model of ballasted railway tracks. Mechanics of the solides [physics.class-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLC018⟩. ⟨tel-02286362⟩



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