Numerical modelling of ground borne vibrations from high speed rail lines on embankments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A three dimensional numerical model is presented capable of modelling the propagation and transmission of ground vibration in the vicinity of high speed railways. It is used to investigate the effect of embankment constituent material on ground borne vibration levels at various distances from the track.
The model is a time domain explicit, dynamic finite element model capable of simulating non-linear excitation mechanisms. The entire model, including the wheel/rail interface is fully coupled. To account for the unbounded nature of the soil structure an absorbing boundary condition (infinite element) is placed at the truncated interfaces. To increase boundary absorption performance, the soil structure is modelled using an elongated spherical geometry.
The complex geometries associated with the track components are modelled in detail thus allowing a highly realistic simulation of force transmission from vehicle to embankment. Lastly, quasi-static and dynamic excitation mechanisms of the vehicle locomotives are described using a multi-body approach which is fully coupled to the track using non-linear Hertzian contact theory.
The resulting model is verified using experimental ground borne vibration data from high speed trains, gathered through field trials. It is then used to investigate the role of embankments in the transmission of vibration. It is found that soft embankments exhibit large deflections and act as a waveguide for railway vibrations which are trapped within the structure. This results in increased vibration levels both inside the embankment and in the surrounding soil. In contrast it is found that embankments formed from stiffer material reduce vibrations in the near and far fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Issue numberMarch 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • railway
  • high speed train
  • vibrations
  • embankment
  • ground borne vibration
  • multi-body dynamics
  • absorbing boundary condition
  • finite element method (FEM)


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