A procedure to develop scalable models for the transient response of sleepers

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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