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Mid-America Transportation Center

Determining the Transfer Length in Prestressed Concrete Railroad Ties Produced in the United States


Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Robert Peterman (bob@ksu.edu (785)532-7612)
  • Graduate Students
  • Robert Murphy
  • John Handke
  • Project Status
    In Progress
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Kansas Transportation Research and New Development Program
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Concrete ties have become the preferred choice for many railway lines in the mid-west, where extremely heavy freight movements occur daily. In order for these prestressed concrete ties to function adequately over their expected life, and to ensure the safety of freight movements across the mid-west region, the prestressing force must be fully introduced into the railroad tie at a location well before the rail load is applied. The length required to transfer the prestress force into the concrete member is referred to as the “Transfer Length.” This research is aimed at conducting systematic measurements of the transfer length in concrete railroad ties that are produced by all of the major concrete tie producers in the United States. As such, this will be the first coordinated effort to measure transfer lengths of concrete railroad ties that has ever been conducted in the industry, and will quantify the differences in transfer lengths that occur with indented wires, indented strands, and smooth strands currently used in prestressed concrete railroad tie construction.
    Research Objective
    This objective of this research is to conduct systematic measurements of the transfer length in concrete railroad ties that are produced by all of the major concrete tie producers in the United States. This information is critical since there are currently 3 different types of prestressing reinforcing being used in the fabrication of these ties.
    Potential Benefits
    The proposed work will provide detailed information about the bond of 3 different types of prestressing reinforcement used in the manufacturing of concrete ties in the United States. This information will assist in the design of future ties and to evaluate the effectiveness of current designs.
    Abstract
    Concrete ties have become the preferred choice for many railway lines in the mid-west, where extremely heavy freight movements occur daily. This is especially true for “heavy-haul” lines which are the primary routes used to transport coal from the Powder River Basin to the rest of the country. However, in order for these prestressed concrete ties to function adequately over their expected life, and to ensure the safety of freight movements across the mid-west region, the prestressing force must be fully introduced into the railroad tie at a location well before the rail load is applied. The length required to transfer the prestress force into the concrete member is referred to as the “Transfer Length.” Since the transfer length is critical to the long-term performance of prestressed concrete ties, this research proposal is aimed at conducting systematic measurements of the transfer length in concrete railroad ties that are produced by all of the major concrete tie producers in the United States. As such, this will be the first coordinated effort to measure transfer lengths of concrete railroad ties that has ever been conducted in the industry, and will quantify the differences in transfer lengths that occur with indented wires, indented strands, and smooth strands currently used in prestressed concrete railroad tie construction.
    Project Amount
    $ 111,670