Study of a Natural Unsaturated Clay and Its Effect on Railroads Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). All rights reserved. Subgrades and embankments of railroads on unsaturated clay are subjected to not only climatic variation (and its corresponding volume change), but also to increasing dynamic train loading. Shrink/swell soils are known to exacerbate railroad track conditions. In this study, field investigation, laboratory tests, and numerical modeling are integrated to advance current understanding the impact of shrink/swell soil on railroad behavior. A test site in Texas at an actual union pacific (UP) railroad section was selected to study in detail the interactions between railroad dynamic loading, natural (shrink/swell) foundation soils, local topographic conditions (controlling the drainage), and climatic variations. A comprehensive set of ongoing laboratory tests are being conducted to investigate hydraulic, volumetric, and dynamic soil properties. The ongoing study examined soil hydro-mechanical and dynamic properties and the results obtained from the laboratory tests are to be used in numerical modeling which can help in extrapolating the behavior of railroad on shrink/swell soils in various scenarios. Using the aforementioned (field, laboratory, and numerical) methodologies, the actual behavior of railroad under different weather conditions and dynamic loading is studied; the mechanism of railroad deformation due to train loading and weather change is examined; and dynamic numerical models are validated for simulations of future study.

name of conference

  • PanAm Unsaturated Soils 2017

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, D., Sanchez, M., Saez, E., Ovalle, C., & Briaud, J.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Dong||Sanchez, Marcelo||Saez, Esteban||Ovalle, Carlos||Briaud, Jean-Louis

publication date

  • January 2018