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**in conventional and high-speed railway lines and implementation to the
**

vertical vibration mode

E. Leon, D.C. Rizos

n

, J.M. Caicedo

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Carolina, 300 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 23 June 2010

Received in revised form

12 November 2010

Accepted 17 November 2010

a b s t r a c t

This paper presents a procedure to develop scalable reduced models for the through-the soil interaction

and traveling wave effects of distant sleepers in a long railway track. For development purposes, and,

without loss of generality, the geometry of the sleepers is consistent with the UIC-60 track system

commonly used in European high speed rail and the vertical vibration mode is considered. The ballast and

the effects of soil layering are not considered in the present paper; however, it is the subject of ongoing

research. The proposed reduced models are based on B-Spline impulse response functions (BIRF) of the

sleepers only as computed through boundary element method (BEM) solutions of the full model, preserve

the frequency content of the full models, and they are highly accurate within the assumptions of linear

isotropic and homogeneous soil media. They are expressed in a scalable form with respect to soil

properties and sleeper spacing. In particular, the BIRFs of distant sleepers can be accurately approximated

by appropriate scaling operations of time and amplitude of a reference sleeper BIRF while retaining all

dynamic characteristics of the full model. Three main scaling parameters are proposed: (i) the apparent

propagation velocity, (ii) the geometric damping coefﬁcient, and (iii) the soil properties of a reference soil

(i.e., the shear modulus and shear wave velocity). The models are validated through comparisons with

other BEMsolutions, and the accuracy and efﬁciency are established. The proposed models are developed

as part of an NSF funded research on vibrations induced by high-speed rail trafﬁc and are consistent with

the associated train and rail models and a multi-system interface coupling (MSIC) technique that were

developed as a part of the project and presented in companion papers. The proposed procedure forms the

framework for developing scaled reduced models for other vibration modes and different sleeper

geometries and can be generalized to include any foundation type or layered soil proﬁles.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

1. Introduction

High-speed trains (HST) is a popular transportation mode in the

world and plans are being made in the United States for several high-

speed rail systems to be constructed in different areas of the country

over the next several decades. The deﬁnition of HSTs typically

suggests a passenger train traveling in excess of 160 km/h

(100 mph), though HSTs in service may travel faster than 320 km/h

(200 mph). As the HST speeds continue to increase, potential

problems arise when the train travels over soft soils with inherently

lower Rayleighandshear wave velocities. Insuchcases, the wave ﬁeld

generated by the HST propagates at speeds lower than the speed of

the trains that generated them, creating a phenomenon equivalent to

the sonic boom and supersonic travel, as described for example in

Ref. [1]. The characteristics of the wave propagation due to the

passage of HST, e.g., frequency content and peak particle velocity

differ from the vibrations caused by conventional trains. Although

these wave ﬁelds donot cause large strains andsoil nonlinearities, the

vibrations could be potentially damaging to both the trains and the

infrastructure facilities and cause annoyance to passengers and

residents impacting negatively the public perception on the beneﬁts

of HSR. It is, therefore, evident that an accurate prediction of HST

inducedvibrations needs toaccount for the traveling wave effects and

the through the soil interaction between sleepers at relatively large

distances in addition to the rail, track and vehicle dynamics. Such

tasks are among the most computationally expensive and require

efﬁcient approaches and procedures.

The ﬁnite element method (FEM), boundary element method

(BEM), and hybrid FEM–BEM are among the most popular techni-

ques for transient analysis and wave propagation and suitable for

such studies. General literature reviews on time and frequency

domain BEM, FEM, and coupled BE–FE methods for problems in

transient analysis have beenpresented in Refs. [2–4] among others.

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/soildyn

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

0267-7261/$ - see front matter Published by Elsevier Ltd.

doi:10.1016/j.soildyn.2010.11.006

n

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 803 777 6166; fax: +1 803 777 0670.

E-mail addresses: leone@email.sc.edu (E. Leon), rizos@engr.sc.edu (D.C. Rizos),

caicedo@engr.sc.edu (J.M. Caicedo).

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511

Standard FEM procedures for wave propagation in inﬁnite media

truncate the inﬁnite extents by introducing ﬁctitious boundaries

and cannot accurately represent the radiation condition in the soil

region. Proposed alternatives include (i) modeling of large compu-

tational domain with material damping, e.g. [5], (ii) use of springs

and visco-elastic dampers along the ﬁctitious boundaries, e.g. [6],

and (iii) development of special types of elements that model the

inﬁnite extents at the ﬁctitious boundaries, e.g. [7–10]. Such

alternatives are either less accurate, or computationally expensive

or suitable for frequency domain analysis only. BEM for wave

propagation and sleeper soil interaction analysis are developed in

the frequency or time domain. The frequency-domain techniques

are based on the calculation of transfer functions followed by

suitable convolution operations to obtain the response to the train-

induced moving load [11–17]. Time domain BEM formulations for

general 3-D wave propagation problems in the direct time can be

classiﬁed in view of the associated fundamental solutions in three

major types: (i) Dirac-d fundamental solutions, e.g. [18], (ii) step

impulse fundamental solutions, e.g. [19], and (iii) high order B-

Spline fundamental solutions, e.g. [20,21].

Coupled formulations based on the combination of the FEMand

BEM methods have also been presented, e.g. [22–25], providing an

attractive numerical tool for problems pertaining tocoupledmedia.

Recent research work on the analysis of ground vibrations pro-

duced by HST has been reported in the frequency domain [26–29],

and in the time domain [30–33]. Time domain simulations of the

full length of a railroad track using FEM or BEM or combined

FEM–BEM models are often time consuming since they involve a

signiﬁcantly high number of degrees of freedom. A number of

techniques for reducing the size of the models have been reported

in the literature. One of the earliest and most popular reduction

methods used in FEManalysis is the static or Guyan reduction [34],

but it is not exact for dynamic analysis due tothe presence of inertia

forces in the system. Model reduction techniques reported in the

literature for dynamic problems include the dynamic reduction

method[35–37], the improvedreductionsystem(IRS) method[38],

the iterative IRS technique [39], the component mode synthesis

(CMS) method[40], andthe systemequivalent reductionexpansion

process (SEREP) method [41], among others. The aforementioned

techniques operate directly on the system matrices and are either

less accurate or require modal analysis to identify potential modes

that can be eliminated (or ignored). The B-Spline impulse response

techniques [21] present an alternate approach in model reduction

and are based on establishing ‘‘signature’’ responses of systems

subjected to impulses of B-Spline modulation using the BEM

reported in Ref. [20]. Once these characteristic responses are

established the time history of the system response to arbitrary

excitations is computed by a mere superposition. In the case of a

long straight railroad track these characteristic impulse responses

of the sleepers are repetitive for any two source–receiver sleeper

systems andscalable for different soil types. Theyhave beenusedto

generate the B-Spline impulse response function (BIRF) matrix of a

large system based on the analysis of much smaller systems

consisting of only a few sleepers [1]. Even though this approach

is more efﬁcient than implementing the BEM on the entire track,

the calculation of the characteristic responses can be time con-

suming as the distance between the sleepers increases and further

optimization is in order.

This paper presents a procedure for developing scalable reduced

models of distant sleepers ina long railway track accounting for the

through-the soil interaction and traveling wave effects. For devel-

opment purposes and without loss of generality the geometry of

the sleepers is consistent with the UIC-60 track system commonly

used in European High Speed Rail, and the vertical vibration mode

is considered. The effects of the ballast and soil layering are not

considered in the present paper; however, it is the subject of

ongoing research. The proposed reduced models are based on

B-Spline impulse response functions (BIRF) of the sleepers only as

computed through boundary element method (BEM) analysis of

the full model, preserve the frequency content and all dynamic

characteristics of the associated full models, and they are highly

accurate within the assumptions of linear isotropic and homo-

geneous soil media. The output informationof the full model canbe

retrieved routinely on an as needed basis. The B-Spline BEM

formulation within the framework of B-Spline impulse response

techniques [20] presents an innovative and efﬁcient way to

simulate in almost real time the wave propagation in soils

accounting for kinematic interaction effects with the sleepers.

Inertia interaction effects are addressed through coupling with

other solution techniques as reported in Refs. [1,24]. The reduced

models are expressed in a scalable form with respect to soil

properties and sleeper spacing. In particular, the BIRFs of distant

sleepers can be accurately approximated by appropriate scaling

operations of time and amplitude of a reference sleeper BIRF while

retaining all dynamic characteristics of the full model. Three main

scaling parameters are introduced: (i) the apparent propagation

velocity, (ii) the geometric damping coefﬁcient, and (iii) soil

properties of a reference soil (i.e., the shear modulus and shear

wave velocity). The proposed models are developed as part of an

NSF funded research on vibrations induced by high-speed rail

trafﬁc and are consistent with the associated train and rail models

and a multi-systeminterface coupling (MSIC) technique developed

by the research team and presented in companion papers. The

proposed approach forms the framework for developing scaled

reduced models for other vibration modes and different sleeper

geometries and can be generalized to include any foundation type

or layered soil proﬁles. In the following sections, the proposed

technique is discussed. First, the BIRF techniques are introduced

brieﬂy, then a description of the proposed model reductionconcept

follows and, the scaling operations that lead to the proposed

scalable forms are presented. The validation of the proposed

closed-form solutions is provided and, ﬁnally for a more compre-

hensive use of these expressions, the reader is referred to an

implementation example.

2. Overview of B-Spline impulse response techniques

A detailed formulation of the employed 3-D BEM is too

extensive and beyond the scope of this paper and can be found

in Ref. [1,42]. The BEMuses the time domain fourth-order B-Spline

fundamental solutions of the 3-Dfull space along with higher order

spatial discretization of the boundary. These fundamental solu-

tions are developed assuming an excitation of the formof a fourth-

order B-Spline polynomials. The B-Spline polynomials are piece-

wise smooth polynomials and are the basis functions in function

interpolation techniques. The fourth-order polynomials, when

used as the excitation functions in the development of the

fundamental solutions, satisfy the continuity requirements. The

B-Spline impulse response technique is based on: (1) the relation

between the B-Spline impulse excitation and the associated

B-Spline impulse response function (BIRF) of the elastodynamic

system as computed through a BEM method using the proposed

B-Spline fundamental solutions and (2) the representation of any

function as a linear combination of B-Spline polynomials. Conse-

quently, if the response of the elastodynamic systemto anarbitrary

excitation function is sought after, the response can be computed

through a mere superposition of the BIRFs without requiring a

rigorous BEM solution to be performed anew for each arbitrary

excitation. The technique implies linearity of the problem.

The boundary integral equation associated to the Navier–

Cauchy governing equations of motion is expressed in a discrete

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 503

form yielding a system of algebraic equations at step N relating

displacements u to forces f at discrete boundary nodes in the BEM

model and at discrete time instants t

j

and t

j

, as

cuðt

N

Þ ¼

Nþ1

n ¼ 1

Uðt

N

Þfðt

NÀnþ2

ÞÀTðt

N

Þuðt

NÀnþ2

Þ N ¼1,2,. . .,N

end

ð1Þ

where c is a discontinuity term, and U and T are the BEM

coefﬁcient matrices associated with the B-Spline fundamental

solutions. Eq. (1) can be solved in a time marching scheme for

N

end

time steps yielding the B-Spline impulse response (BIRF) of the

system. In order to derive equivalent, time-dependent ﬂexibility

matrices associated with the ‘‘loaded part’’ of the BE model

(e.g. points of application of external excitation), a unit B-Spline

impulse force d

j

¼f, perturbs each ‘‘active’’ degree of freedom,

j ¼1,y,NN, at a time and successive solutions of Eq. (1) yield the

B-Spline impulse response vectors, b

N

j

¼uðt

N

Þ. These BIRFs can be

collected in matrix form as

B

N

¼ b

N

1

b

N

2

. . . b

N

j

. . . b

N

NN

_ _

ð2Þ

Matrix B represents the BIRF associated to the displacements of

the BEM nodes due to concentrated unit forces applied in the

directions of the degrees of freedomthat vary in time according to a

B-Spline function, and captures the traveling wave characteristics.

Subsequently, the response, u

N

, of the elastodynamic system

subjected to arbitrary external forces f¼P applied at the nodes

are computed at time step N as

u

N

¼

Nþ1

n ¼ 1

B

N

P

NÀnþ2

ð3Þ

By separating known from unknown quantities at time step N,

and assuming that

€

P

N

¼0, Eq. (3) can be expressed as

u

N

¼ZF

N

þH

N

ð4Þ

where

Z ¼2B

1

þB

2

; H

N

¼

Nþ1

n ¼ 3

B

n

F

NÀnþ2

ÀB

1

F

NÀ1

ð5Þ

Matrix Z represents the ﬂexibility matrix of the loaded BEM

region and vector H

N

represents the inﬂuence of the response

history on the current step. The ﬂexibility matrix is independent of

time; however, vector H

N

needs to be evaluated at every time step.

The proposed method is implemented in two major phases. The

ﬁrst phase calculates the BIRF matrices of the boundary of the

domain. The evaluation of the BIRF matrices, B

N

, is computationally

intensive; however, they are independent of the external excitation

and need to be evaluated only once for a given model geometry.

The second phase calculates the response of the boundary of the

domain given a known excitation force time history. In the

presence of rigid bodies in contact with the free surface, such as

the case of the railroad sleepers considered in this work, the same

method can be used along with the rigid surface boundary element

reported in Ref. [43] to compute the BIRF functions of the soil–

sleeper interface.

3. Proposed model reduction

3.1. The concept

For the analysis of a real system consisting of a large number of

sleepers where all sleepers are loaded in an asynchronous pattern

due to the moving load, the calculation of the BIRF matrix, Eq. (2), is

a computationally expensive task if all sleepers and an extended

free ﬁeld are to be considered simultaneously in the full model. In

such a complete approach, every sleeper in the system needs to be

loaded by a B-Spline impulse and the response of all sleepers needs

to be computed. Although this approach is an accurate representa-

tion of the rail–sleeper system, it may be simpliﬁed by observing

that: (1) the response of each rigid sleeper is described by six

degrees of freedom, i.e., three translations andthree rotations of the

center of the sleeper, (2) only the vertical andhorizontal translation

degrees of freedom of the sleepers are coupled with the rail, and

(3) repetitive responses of the sleepers are expected when a single

representative sleeper is loaded due to the assumption of a straight

track. Therefore, only one sleeper should be loaded by a B-Spline

excitation and the BIRFs of all sleepers should be computed. Since

the free ﬁeld effects are already accountedfor inthe computedBIRF

functions of the sleepers, the size of the full model is therefore

reduced to the number of degrees of freedom of all sleepers in the

system. This represents a ﬁrst level of model reduction. A second

level of reduction is attained next. In view of the wave attenuation

and the HST speed, only a ﬁnite number of sleepers are expected to

have a signiﬁcant contribution to the response at any given time.

Furthermore, depending on the geometry and spacing of sleepers,

cross interaction effects are expected to be important for only the

ﬁrst two to four sleepers adjacent to the loaded one, as discussed in

Ref. [1] and veriﬁed in this work. Therefore, it is feasible to generate

BIRF matrices of a large system based on the analysis of much

smaller systems consisting of only a few sleepers. Consider, for

example, the system shown in Fig. 1 that consists of a source

sleeper, s, and m receiver sleepers on each side of the source. As

proposed in Ref. [1] and assuming for demonstration purposes that

the cross-interaction effects are signiﬁcant within two sleepers

away of the source, two groups of sleepers are identiﬁed. The ﬁrst

group (Group A) pertains to the source and the two adjacent

sleepers oneachside. For this groupthe BIRF is computedthrougha

rigorous BEMsolution. The secondgroup(GroupB) consists of pairs

of source/receiver sleepers with the receiver sleeper not belonging

to the ﬁrst group. In this case all other sleepers between the source

and receiver (light shaded sleepers in Fig. 1) are omitted and it is

assumed that cross-interaction effects and wave scattering due to

neighboring sleepers are negligible. This simplifying assumption is

expected to produce conservative results since the sleepers

between source and receiver act also as wave barriers. In Ref. [1]

the BIRFs for this group are also computed numerically through a

rigorous BEM solution with all sleepers between source and

receiver being omitted. Subsequently, the BIRF of the entire system

is formed by combining the BIRFs of the two groups. However, as

the model considers larger number of sleepers, the BEM solution

even for group B will become computationally expensive, since

large regions of the free ﬁeld should be modeled to account for the

surface waves correctly.

The proposed reduced model can be efﬁciently obtained for the

systems in group B if the BIRF of any receiver sleeper in the group

can be accurately approximated by an appropriate scaling of the

BIRF of a reference sleeper that is computedbasedonBEMsolutions

of the full model. To demonstrate this concept, a representative

source–receiver sleeper system in Group B (e.g. S-j in Fig. 1) is

considered as the reference system. The distance between the

source and receiver system is D

ref

and the BIRF is computed by the

BEMmethod for this reference system. Inthe present work the BIRF

of another sleeper at distance D¼D

i

, may be computed through

appropriate scaling of the reference system with respect to time

and amplitude.

3.2. The features of BIRFs of 2-sleeper systems

In order to develop the proposed reduced models, the char-

acteristics of the B-Spline impulse response functions (BIRF) need

to be explored ﬁrst. To this end, the BEM methodology outlined in

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 504

section 2 is used to calculate the BIRFs of a series of source-receiver

sleeper systems spaced at variable distances. Fig. 2 illustrates such

BIRF responses for six different source–receiver spacings for the

vertical vibration mode.

The intercept of each BIRF indicates the distance between the

source and receiver while the actual amplitude of the BIRF is

omitted. The repetitive nature of the BIRFs is evident. The variations

in amplitude, and number of high amplitude peaks with distance

fromthe source are apparent. The observed horizontal shift in time

is due to the quiescent past of the response while the amplitude

decrease is due to attenuation. Despite these variations, a similarity

in the overall shape of the response curves is observed and can be

interpreted by considering the characteristics of the wave propa-

gationfromthe source towardthe receiver sleepers. The BIRF of any

sleeper is affected by both body waves (Pressure P- and Shear S-)

and surface waves (Rayleigh R-) propagating through the

semi-inﬁnite soil. The general characteristics of the stress wave

propagation theory are observed in the sleeper BIRFs illustrated in

Fig. 2. Additional features inherent to the wave generation and

propagation in soil due to the particular sleepers’ arrangement are

observed:

1. The motion between the ﬁrst P- and S-wave arrivals becomes

more pronounced and the number of peaks between these

arrival times increases as the distance from the excitation

source increases. This part of the motion includes contributions

from: (a) the incident P-wave ﬁeld emanated at the source

sleeper and propagating with velocity c

p

; and (b) interaction of

the scattered P-waves with the S-wave incident ﬁeld.

2. The part of the motion between the ﬁrst S- and R-wave arrival

includes contributions from, (a) the incident S-wave ﬁeld

emanated at the source sleeper and propagating at c

S

; and

(b) interaction of the scattered S-waves propagating at c

S

with

the R-wave incident ﬁeld propagating at c

R

. The contribution of

scatteredP-waves is not anticipatedto be signiﬁcant inthis time

interval.

3. The response of the sleeper following the ﬁrst R-wave arrival

seems to be composed mainly of the incident R-waves ema-

nated at the source sleeper propagating with velocity c

R

. The

most likely contribution might be that of the scattered S-waves

since their velocity is only about 10% higher than the velocity of

R-waves.

Comparing the BIRFs of the receivers in any 2-sleeper systems,

time and amplitude of a reference receiver BIRF can be scaled with

respect to distance and the soil properties to obtain accurate match

of the response of the other.

3.3. Scaling of time

During any time interval Dt the group of waves of the same type

emanated fromthe source sleeper travels a distance cDt, where c is

the wave velocity of the medium. If the group of waves reaches

receiver sleeper j at time t

j

and receiver sleeper i at time t

i

then the

horizontal distance between the two sleepers is covered within

Dt ¼t

i

Àt

j

¼

D

i

ÀD

j

c

ð6Þ

Fig. 2. Comparisonof the vertical component of displacement of receivers locatedat

increasing distances from the source as indicated by the intercept. The source

function is a B-Spline impulse.

Fig. 1. An m-sleeper system and the computation of the BIRF function.

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 505

Hence, the problem of calculating a scaled time depends on the

availability of the wave propagation velocities, c. At each time

instant, t, the group of waves reaching the receiver sleeper can be

thought of as combination of P-, S-, and R-waves. In lieu of

considering the separate wave velocities, a parameter henceforth

called apparent propagation velocity C is introduced to describe the

propagation velocity of the wave packet of different wave types.

The apparent velocity is a function of time, in contrast to the wave

velocity of a particular wave type. This parameter captures the

effects of the geometry of the excitation source and the reﬂections

from the receiver sleeper which, as discussed in the previous

section, are perceived as factors that contribute to the complexity

of the wave packet that travels from the source to the receiver.

Assuming that C is known, the desired scaled time t

scaled

is a

function of the apparent propagation velocity itself and is readily

calculated as

t

scaled

¼t

ref

þDÀD

ref

C ð7Þ

The procedure to estimate the apparent propagation velocity is

discussed in section 4.2

3.4. Scaling of amplitude

The attenuation of amplitude of vibration with distance attrib-

uted only to geometric (radiation) damping may be described by

Bornitz’s equation [44]

w

i

¼w

j

Â

D

j

D

i

_ _

n

ð8Þ

where w

i

and w

j

are vibration amplitudes at distance D

i

and D

j

from

a source of vibration and n is a geometric damping coefﬁcient.

Values of n have been provided in the literature [45] for various

types of excitation sources and types of propagating waves. For

example, the amplitude of body waves at distance R from the

source, decreases in proportion to 1/R (n¼1) except along the

surface of the elastic half-space where the amplitude decreases in

proportion to 1/R

2

(n¼2). The amplitude of the Rayleigh waves

decreases in proportion to 1/R

0.5

(n¼0.5). Nevertheless, the values

of n for the system in Fig. 1 are anticipated to differ from the latter

ones due to the effects of the geometry of the excitation source and

the reﬂections fromthe receiver sleeper. Therefore, for the accurate

prediction of the wave attenuation due to applied loading in the

current problem, n needs to be quantiﬁed as a function of time for

the speciﬁc geometry of the problem. The procedure toestimate the

geometric attenuation coefﬁcient is discussed in section 4.3. Using

the estimated n values, the desired scaled amplitude w

scaled

is

readily calculated as

w

scaled

¼w

ref

Â

D

ref

D

_ _

n

ð9Þ

3.5. Soil Property scaling

Scaled time and amplitude, as deﬁned in Eqs. (7) and (9),

respectively, are associated with the soil medium of a reference

system. This implies that the same soil mediumproperties exist for

the reference system and the system whose scaled response is

desired. However, different soil medium properties can be con-

sidered for the two systems. Considering that the arbitrary system,

i, consists of sleepers of the same dimensions as the reference

system and G

i

,c

s,i

,r

i

and G

ref

,c

s,ref

,r

ref

are the shear modulus, shear

wave velocity and mass density of the arbitrary and the reference

system, respectively, the scaled response at distance D can be

computed as

w

i

ðt

i

Þ ¼w

scaled

Â

G

ref

G

i

¼w

scaled

Â

c

s,ref

c

s,i

_ _

2

Â

r

ref

r

i

, t

i

¼t

scaled

Â

c

s,ref

c

s,i

_ _

ð10Þ

The proposed scaling method is only valid for sleepers having

the same widths and is applicable only in the absence of

connecting rails.

4. Parameter estimation and development of scalable BIRF

In order to obtain the closed-form solutions for the BIRF of a

receiver sleeper as a function of distance from the source, the

scaling functions in Eqs. (7) and (9) involve the estimation of

the scaling parameters, i.e., the apparent propagation velocity and

the geometric damping coefﬁcient. This section discusses the

procedure to estimate these parameters and presents the scaling

functions to obtain the BIRF solutions of the reduced model. It must

be noted that the scaled model should capture all the signiﬁcant

informationof the numerically obtainedBIRFs. To this end, the BIRF

of a receiver sleeper is obtained numerically for a number of

source–receiver distances. Subsequently, discrete values of the

apparent velocity and damping coefﬁcient are obtained at char-

acteristic time instants from the BIRFs. Finally, the apparent

velocity and damping functions are established through a regres-

sion analysis of the discrete values.

4.1. Sleeper BIRF function

The sleeper BIRF functions are calculated for the track geometry

presentedinRef. [1]. Thedimensions of eachsleeper are0.285 mÂ2.5

mwithacenter tocenter spacingof 0.955 m, yieldinganedge-to-edge

spacing of 0.67 m. The sleepers are assumed rigid and massless, and

therefore, only kinematic interaction effects are accounted for.

Complete interaction effects are readily accommodated through

coupling of the proposed formulation with the FEM solution for

the track-rail model where the inertia interaction due to sleeper’s

mass is accountedfor. The sleepers are assumedtorest directly onthe

horizontal free surface of a linear elastic half-space with which they

remain always in contact. A reference soil having a relatively low

shear wavevelocityis usedintheanalysis andtheassumedproperties

are shown in Table 1. As shown in Fig. 3, the boundary of the half-

spaceis discretizedinto8-nodeboundaryelements, andthemotionof

the sleeper is expressed by the 3 translations and 3 rotations of a

reference node, R, at the sleeper center. Since only the vertical

vibration mode is of interest in this work, only the vertical degree

of freedom (DOF) of the source sleeper is excited with a fourth-order

Table 1

Input data for BEM rigorous solution.

Property Value SI (US) Property Value SI (US)

Sleeper length, L 2.5 m (98.425 in.) B-spline support, Dt 2Â10

À3

s

Sleeper width, b 0.285 m (11.220 in.) Time step, dt 5Â10

À4

s

Lame’s, l 5.19Â10

7

KPa (7.52Â10

6

lbf/in

2

) P-wave velocity, c

p

246.07 m/s (9687.76 in/s)

Shear modulus, G 3.46Â10

7

KPa (5,02Â10

6

lbf/in

2

) S-wave velocity, c

s

131.53 m/s (5178.31 in/s)

Density, r 2,000 Kg/m

3

(0.002246 slugs/in

3

) R-wave velocity, c

R

121.93 m/s (4800.28 in/s)

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 506

B-Spline impulse of duration Dt¼2Â10

À3

s, shown in the inset

of Fig. 4. The associated time histories of the response of all DOFs

are computed using the BEMmethod[21] at discrete times t

n

¼nDt/4.

The BIRF of the receiver sleepers pertaining to the vertical trans-

lation is monitored and shown in Fig. 4. The six curves represent

six different source–receiver sleeper systems with the following

source-receiver distances in increasing order: D

2

¼2.85, D

3

¼3.99,

D

4

¼4.845, D

7

¼7.695, D

10

¼10.545 and D

12

¼12.54 m, where sub-

scripts indicate the number of sleepers between the source and

receiver. It is noted that these distances are not always multiples of

the spacing between the adjacent sleepers in order to facilitate the

efﬁcient discretization of the free ﬁeld. However, this discrepancy

does not affect in any way the proposed scaling operations. The latter

is applicable to any spacing and not restricted to the UIC-60 track

system.

4.2. Determination of apparent propagation velocity

The ﬁrst step in determining the apparent velocity as a function

of time is to compute discrete values based on the BIRFs obtained in

the previous section. To this end, one response at a time is

considered as the reference response where the source–receiver

spacing is D

i

. The remaining responses, with source–receiver

spacing D

j

, are the target responses and are compared to the

reference in viewof their characteristic peaks. Thus, the time lapse,

Dt, between the time, t

i

, of the reference response where a peak is

observed and the time, t

j

, of the target response where the same

peak takes place is measured. Subsequently, Eq. (6) can be solved

for the velocity, C. This velocity is a measure of the apparent

velocity at time t

i

for this pair of reference and target responses.

Therefore, discrete values of the apparent velocitycanbe calculated

for all combinations of reference-target BIRFs. The calculated

apparent velocity is presented in a graph form in Fig. 5 for four

reference systems.

It is observedthat the calculatedC functions are piecewise smooth

functions deﬁnedinfour time intervals, i.e. [t

p

, t

c1

], [t

c1

, t

c2

], [t

c2

, t

s

] and

[t

s

, N) for each source–receiver distance. It is also observed that the C

values corresponding tot

p

, t

c1

, t

c2

andt

s

do not dependonthe distance

and are determined as Cðt

p

Þ ¼c

p

¼246m=s, Cðt

c1

Þ ¼2ðc

p

Àc

s

Þ ¼

228m=s, Cðt

c2

Þ ¼c

s

¼132m=s and Cðt

s

Þ ¼c

R

¼122m=s. Times t

p

and t

s

correspond to the ﬁrst arrival of the P- and S-waves,

respectively, and t

c1

ot

c2

correspond to time instances where the

computed apparent velocity is signiﬁcantly affected by the convo-

lutedpressure andshear waves. Aregressionanalysis, showninFig. 6,

reveals a linear relationship between t

c1

,t

c2

and the distance of the

reference sleeper fromthe source with an R

2

value greater than 0.99.

Generalized expressions for any reference soil with c

s

,

ref

are derived

t

c1

¼

1

c

s,ref

Âð0:579 ÂD

ref

þ0:552Þ, ðD

ref

44m; t

c1

in sÞ ð11Þ

t

c2

¼

1

c

s,ref

Âð0:934 ÂD

ref

À0:776Þ, ðD

ref

44m; t

c2

in sÞ ð12Þ

Fig. 6 also shows the characteristic times t

c3

andt

c4

that are used

in the estimate of the geometric damping coefﬁcient discussed in

the next section. Because of deﬁnition t

c1

ot

c2

, these linear

relationships apply only for D

ref

44 m (more than 3 sleepers

between source and reference sleeper). This is consistent with

the ﬁndings in Ref. [1] where it is reported that the number of

signiﬁcant sleepers for cross-interaction effects is 2–4 on each side

of the source sleeper.

It is observed that in all but the second interval, [t

c1

, t

c2

], a linear

relationship accurately describes the variation of the apparent

Fig. 3. Discretized free ﬁeld sleeper–soil interface with 8 node boundary elements.

Fig. 4. Discrete BIRF functions for the vertical translation as obtained from a

rigorous BEM solution for six different source–receiver distances.

Fig. 5. Calculated apparent propagation velocity with respect to time for four

different distances of the reference sleeper from the source and the soil–sleeper

system of Table 1. Curve corresponding to reference sleeper at D

10

is selected to

illustrate time limits of the four discrete parts that are observed in all of the derived

curves.

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 507

velocity with time. The apparent velocity in the interval [t

c1

, t

c2

], is

better approximated by a power function. In summary, the

following closed-form expressions are derived for C

Cðt

ref

Þ ¼

c

p,ref

þ

2ðc

p,ref

Àcs,ref ÞÀc

p,ref

t

c1,ref

Àt

p,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

p,ref

Þ t

p,ref

ot

ref

ot

c1,ref

a Ât

b

ref

t

c1,ref

ot

ref

ot

c2,ref

c

s,ref

þ

c

R,ref

Àc

s,ref

t

s,ref

Àt

c2,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c2,ref

Þ t

c2,ref

ot

ref

ot

s,ref

c

R,ref

t

s,ref

ot

ref

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

ð13Þ

where a ¼ð2ðc

p,ref

Àc

s,ref

Þ=t

b

c1,ref

Þ ¼c

s,ref

=t

b

c2,ref

and b ¼lnð2ðc

p,ref

Àc

s,ref

Þ=c

s,ref

Þ=lnðt

c1,ref

=t

c2,ref

Þ are estimated by enforcing the con-

tinuity conditions at the ends of interval [t

c1

, t

c2

].

4.3. Determination of geometric damping coefﬁcient

The geometric damping coefﬁcient that appears in Eq. (9) can be

determined in a manner similar to the apparent propagation

velocity described in the previous section. From the amplitudes

of the vertical displacement at characteristic peaks along two

discrete BIRF functions, the geometric damping coefﬁcient n can be

calculated from Eq. (8). Scaled in time responses are now selected

consecutively to represent the reference response and coefﬁcient n

is calculated as the one required to match the amplitude values of

the reference response with those of the remaining target

responses simultaneously. The calculatedcoefﬁcient n withrespect

to time is illustrated in Fig. 7(a)–(d).

Similarly to the closed-formexpression derivationprocess for C,

distinct limits are selected for the derivation of the closed-form

expressions for n. Beginning fromthe left these are: [t

p

, t

c1

], [t

c1

, t

c2

],

[t

c2

, t

c3

], [t

c3

, t

s

], [t

s

, t

R

], [t

R

, t

c4

] and [t

c4

, N). The n values

corresponding to t

p

, t

c1

, t

c2

, t

c3

, t

s

, t

R

and t

c4

do not depend on the

distance andare determinedas n(t

p

)¼1.5, n(t

c1

)¼1.5, n(t

c2

)¼À1.0,

n(t

c3

)¼À2.0 n(t

s

)¼0.0, n(t

R

)¼0.7 and n(t

c4

)¼À1.0. Times t

c1

, t

c2

,

t

c3

, t

c4

, have been presented in Fig. 6 and similarly to t

c1

and t

c2

,

linear relationships between t

c3

, t

c4

and the distance of the

reference sleeper from the source are derived

t

c3

¼

1

c

s,ref

Âð0:973 ÂD

ref

À0:789Þ, ðD

ref

44m; t

c3

in sÞ ð14Þ

t

c4

¼

1

c

s,ref

Âð1:026 ÂD

ref

þ1:960Þ, ðD

ref

44m; t

c4

in sÞ ð15Þ

In all intervals a linear relationship accurately describes the

variation of the geometric damping coefﬁcient with time.In

Fig. 6. Arrival time t

c1

and t

c2

as-obtained from the discrete BIRF functions of Fig. 4

for six different source–receiver distances and the soil–sleeper system of Table 1.

Arrival time t

c3

and t

c4

discussed in Section 4.3 are also plotted. Best ﬁt curves

indicate a linear relationship with respect to distance of the reference sleeper from

the source.

Fig. 7. Calculated geometric damping coefﬁcient with respect to time at (a) D

4

;

(b) D

7

; (c) D

10

and (d) D

12

. A smoother curve, discretized in seven time intervals,

representing the derived closed-form expressions for n is also illustrated.

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 508

summary, the following expressions are derived for n:

nðt

ref

Þ ¼

1:5 t

p,ref

ot

ref

ot

c1,ref

1:5À

2:5

t

c2,ref

Àt

c1,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c1,ref

Þ t

c1,ref

ot

ref

ot

c2,ref

À1:0À

1:0

t

c3,ref

Àt

c2,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c2,ref

Þ t

c2,ref

ot

ref

ot

c3,ref

À2:0þ

2:0

t

s,ref

Àt

c3,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c3,ref

Þ t

c3,ref

ot

ref

ot

s,ref

0:7

t

R,ref

Àt

s,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

s,ref

Þ t

s,ref

ot

ref

ot

R,ref

0:7À

1:7

t

c4,ref

Àt

R,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

R,ref

Þ t

R,ref

ot

ref

rt

c4,ref

1:0 t

c4,ref

ot

ref

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

ð16Þ

4.4. Closed-form expressions

Closed-form expressions for scaling of time and amplitude are

summarized in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. These expressions

provide a simple algorithmthat needs only a reference response at

a distance D

ref

to predict the response at a greater distance Ddue to

the same excitationforce. The reference response is associatedwith

the reference systemwhose geometry was presentedinTable 1and

soil medium properties as represented by c

p,ref

,c

s,ref

,c

R,ref

. The

predicted response is associated with an arbitrary system of the

same geometry as the reference but different soil medium as

represented by c

s,i

. With such expressions the computational effort

is signiﬁcantly minimized since only the reference response at a

short distance D

ref

needs to be calculated through rigorous

boundary element analysis. For longer distances and the discrete

time intervals over the duration of the reference response shown in

Tables 2 and3, the corresponding closed-formexpressions are used

in lieu of boundary element analysis. The limits of the discrete time

intervals of the reference response are: (a) the arrival times of the

primary waves which are computed as: t

p,ref

¼D

ref

/c

p,ref

, t

s,ref

¼D

ref

/

c

s,ref

and t

R,ref

¼D

ref

/c

R,ref

; and (b) arrival times t

c1,ref

,t

c2,ref

,

t

c3,ref ,

t

c4,ref

, which are calculated from Eqs. (11), (12), (14) and

(15), respectively. The proposed closed-form expressions are only

valid for D

ref

44 m and for sleepers having the same geometry as

the ones of the reference system presented in Table 1.

5. Model validation and implementation

The performance of the closed-form solutions is evaluated

quantitatively on the actual response of a sleeper located at a

distance D¼D

16

¼16.245 m from the source. The source sleeper is

excited with a fourth-order B-Spline impulse force and the BIRF of

the receiver is computed numerically using the BEM method. It

should be emphasized that this BIRF was not considered in the

development of the scaling parameters and serves as a benchmark.

To validate the proposed model the BIRF of the receiver of the same

system is computed by the scaling of the two reference responses,

D

ref

¼D

7

¼7.695 m, and D

ref

¼D

12

¼12.54 m. A comparison of the

three BIRFs is shown in Fig. 8. The agreement of the BIRFs as scaled

from the two reference responses with the BIRF obtained numeri-

cally is evident.

The time history of the response of the receiver at D

16

due to an

arbitrary load is shown in Fig. 9. The load function is shown as an

inset in the ﬁgure. The response is computed numerically based on

the superposition scheme described by Eq. (3).

In the particular example B is a scalar and is represented by the

two scaled BIRFs and the computed BIRF presented in Fig. 9,

whereas P is the load function. Comparison between the real and

the scaled responses indicate a high accuracy of the scaled BIRFs.

Therefore, it is demonstrated that the proposed method can

reproduce the BEM solutions accurately for all practical purposes

in an extremely efﬁcient manner.

6. Conclusions

The physical rail–sleeper systemthat consists of a large number

of sleepers loaded in an asynchronous pattern due to the moving

Table 2

Closed-form expressions for scaling of time.

Reference time Time scaling

Apparent propagation velocity, C

Scaled time, t

i

t

ref

ot

p,ref

–

t

ref

Â

D

Dref

_ _

Â

c

s,ref

c

s,i

t

p,ref

ot

ref

ot

c1,ref

c

p,ref

þ

2ðc

p,ref

Àc

s,ref

ÞÀc

p,ref

t

c1,ref

Àt

p,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

p,ref

Þ

t

ref

þ

DÀDref

V

_ _

Â

c

s,ref

c

s,i

t

c1,ref

ot

ref

ot

c2,ref a Ât

b

ref

a ¼

2ðc

p,ref

Àc

s,ref

Þ

t

b

c1,ref

¼

c

s,ref

t

b

c2,ref

b ¼ln

2ðc

p,ref

Àc

s,ref

Þ

c

s,ref

_ _

=ln

t

c1,ref

t

c2,ref

_ _

t

c2,ref

ot

ref

ot

s,ref

c

s,ref

þ

c

R,ref

Àc

s,ref

t

s,ref

Àt

c2,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c2,ref

Þ

t

ref

ot

s,ref

c

R,ref

Table 3

Closed-form expressions for scaling of amplitude

Reference time Amplitude scaling

Geometric damping coefﬁcient, n Scaled amplitude, w

i

t

ref

ot

p,ref

0.0

w

ref

Ã

D

ref

D

_ _

n

Â

c

s,ref

c

s,i

_ _

2

Â

r

ref

r

i

t

p,ref

ot

ref

ot

c1,ref

1.5

t

c1,ref

ot

ref

ot

c2,ref

1:5À

2:5

t

c2,ref

Àt

c1,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c1,ref

Þ

t

c2,ref

ot

ref

ot

c3,ref

À1:0À

1:0

t

c3,ref

Àt

c2,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c2,ref

Þ

t

c3,ref

ot

ref

ot

s,ref

À2:0þ

2:0

t

s,ref

Àt

c3,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

c3,ref

Þ

t

s,ref

ot

ref

ot

R,ref

0:7

t

R,ref

Àt

s,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

s,ref

Þ

t

R,ref

ot

ref

ot

c4,ref

0:7À

1:7

t

c4,ref

Àt

R,ref

Âðt

ref

Àt

R,ref

Þ

t

ref

ot

c4,ref

1.0

E. Leon et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 31 (2011) 502–511 509

train load is reduced to two subsystems. The ﬁrst one addresses the

near to the source group of sleepers and the through the soil cross-

interaction effects and has been presented in previous work of the

authors. The second subsystem addresses the far from the source

sleepers andthe traveling wave effects andis the focus of this work.

This paper presented a procedure to develop scalable reduced

models inthe time domainfor the vibrationresponse analysis of far

fromthe source railroadsleepers to a B-Spline impulse excitation. A

two sleeper system is considered consisting of a source sleeper

loaded by a vertical B-Spline impulse function and a receiver

sleeper located at a large distance from the source where the

B-Spline impulse response functionwill be computed. It is assumed

that for the far sleepers the cross-interactioneffects withthe source

are not important, and the scattering due to the presence of other

sleepers between the source and receiver will yield non-conserva-

tive results. In order to compute the BIRF of any two sleepers a full

model that includes the free surface in a discrete formis considered

and BEM solutions are computed. The number of degrees of

freedom of the full model is in the order of thousands. The BIRF

function of the receiver sleeper itself represents a reduced model

that can be used in lieu of the full model to compute the response of

the receiver sleeper to any arbitrary excitation and can be readily

combined with the near the source sleeper subsystem. The BIRF

model preserves the frequency content and all dynamic character-

istics of the full model; however, it has a maximum of only six

degrees of freedomin general. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that

this BIRF function model is scalable with respect to soil properties

and distance from the source and the proposed scaling procedure

introduced three scaling parameters, i.e., the soil shear wave

velocity, the apparent wave propagationvelocityandthe geometric

damping coefﬁcient. The soil shear wave velocity is used for scaling

the model with respect to the soil properties and is constant. The

apparent wave velocity and geometric damping coefﬁcients are

used for scaling the model with respect to distance fromthe source,

are piecewise smooth functions of time, and are presented in a

closed form through regression analysis. The scaled models

increase further the computational efﬁciency of the BIRF models

since only the BIRF of a reference source–receiver sleeper system

needs to be computed. BIRF models for the remaining receiver

sleepers in the railroad track are accurately approximated through

the scaling procedures. The scaling operations however are not

valid for source receiver distances less than four sleepers apart.

Although the development of the procedure focused on the vertical

vibration mode of the receiver sleeper, other important modes can

be approximated in a similar way. The reduced models are

validated through comparisons with other BEM solutions, and

their accuracy and efﬁciency are established. The present approach

can be extended to more complex problems like layered soil, effect

of topography or coupled vibrations of nearby structures, as

reported in forthcoming papers.

Acknowledgement

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation

under Grant# CMMI-0800414. Any opinions, ﬁndings and conclu-

sions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of

the authors and do not necessarily reﬂect those of the National

Science Foundation.

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