Effect of Geogrid Inclusion on Ballast Resilient Modulus: The Concept of ‘Geogrid Gain Factor’

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Conference Proceeding

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Geogrid reinforcement of railroad ballast improves its structural response under loading, limits lateral movement of ballast particles, and reduces vertical settlement through effective geogrid-ballast interlocking. This improved performance can be linked to improved shear strength and resilient modulus properties. An ongoing research study at Boise State University is focusing on investigating the effects of different specimen and test parameters on the mechanism of geogrid-ballast interaction. A commercially available Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) program (PFC3D®) is being used for this purpose, and the effect of geogrid inclusion is being quantified through calculation of the “Geogrid Gain Factor”, defined as the ratio between resilient-modulus of a geogrid-reinforced ballast specimen and that of an unreinforced specimen. Typical load-unload cycles in triaxial shear strength tests are being simulated, and parametric studies are being conducted to determine the effects of particle-size distribution, geogrid aperture size, and geogrid location on railroad-ballast modulus. This paper presents findings from the research study, and presents inferences concerning implications of the study findings on design and construction of better-performing ballast layers.