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The National Academies

Safety IDEA Project 33 [Active (IDEA)]

Adaptive Prestressing System for Concrete Crossties

  Project Data
Funds: 100,000
Staff Responsibility: Velvet Fitzpatrick
Research Agency: University of Illinois
Principal Investigator: Bassem Andrawes
Fiscal Year: 2017

This project will study an innovative concept for introducing, monitoring, and adjusting prestress forces within concrete crossties in the field using “Adaptive Prestressing System (APS).” With the use of innovative prestressing materials, it is believed that a method can be developed to introduce prestress in specific areas of concrete as needed by embedding shape memory alloy (SMA) fuses in the required region.

The project will 1) examine the concept of using APS in crossties using finite element analysis, 2) conduct material testing and characterization on various components of the APS, and 3) conduct full-scale testing of crosstie equipped with APS. The project objective is to help improve the safety and performance of railroad tracks by providing an easy, reliable, and cost effective solution for the severe concrete crosstie cracking problems attributed to under- or over-stressing of crossties due to variations in loading, support, and climate conditions.

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