Experimental Analysis of Fracture and Damage Mechanics of Pre-Stressed Concrete Sleepers B70: Part B- Analysis

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Ph.D Candidate, Department of Civil Engineering, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran


Initial cracks occur in high strength concrete sleepers for various reasons, such as shrinkage and wrong curing and long lifetime of over 50 years of sleepers. These cracks may lead to complete failure of the structure. In order to more accurately design the sleepers, fracture mechanics (not strength of materials) should be incorporated. In order to achieve this purpose, it is important to forecast crack growth and residual strength reduction rate. In this study, based on the principles of nonlinear fracture mechanics (NLFM) in concrete material, fracture behavior of pre-stressed concrete sleepers was investigated. Sleepers with the lengths of initiation crack of 5 mm with 10 mm step increasing to 45 mm were tested. Five specimens in each group were loaded under three-point bending test, in order to calculate Ic K , crack growth, and load-displacement diagram. The results showed that by increasing the crack-to-depth ratio, initial toughness, crack stability, and crack unstable toughness, the crack instability expansion begins. By increasing the crack-to-depth ratio, both initial and unstable toughness values increased linearly versus LEFM theory. Damage begins with an initial crack like in flexural damage and then continues with bifurcation of the crack. The influence of shear damage in sleeper's crack growing leads it to the ultimate damage.


-AREMA (2010) “Evalution tests for tie systems”, Chapter 30, Part 4, “concrete ties”,  American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association.

-AS-1085.14 (2012) Railway Track Material Part 14 : “Pre-stressed concrete sleepers”, Standard Australia, 2012.

-Anderson, T. L. (2005) “Fracture mechanics: Fundamentals and application”, 3rd. Ed., CRC Press.

-Azad, A., Mirza, M. and Chan, P. (2007) “Fracture energy of weakly reinforced concrete beams”, Fatigue. and. Fract. of. Eng. Mater. and. Struct. Vol. 12, pp.9–18.

-Eftekhari, M., Ardakani, S. H. and Mohammadi, S. (2014) “An XFEM multiscale approach for fracture analysis of carbon nanotube reinforced concrete”, Theoretical and Applied. Fract. Mech. Vol. 72, pp.64-75.

-Ferro, G., Carpinteri, A. and Ventura, G. (2007) “Minimum reinforcement in concrete structures and material structural instability”, Int. J. of. Fract., Vol. 146, pp.213–231.

-González-Niciezaa, C., Álvarez-Fernándeza, M. I., Menéndez-Díazb, A., Álvarez-Vigilc, A. E. and Ariznavarreta-Fernándeza, F. (2008) “Failure analysis of concrete sleepers in heavy haul railway tracks”, Eng. Fail. Anal. Vol. 15, pp.90–117.

-Kaewunruen, S. and Remennikov, A. M. (2007) “Experimental and numerical studies of railway pre-stressed concrete sleepers under static and impact loads”, Asian Institute of Technology, Civil Computing, Vol. 3, pp.25-28.

-Kaewunruen, S. and Remennikov, A. M. (2006) “Nonlinear finite element modeling of railway pre-stressed concrete sleeper”, Proceedings of the 10th East Asia-Pacific Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction (EASEC-10), Bangkok, Thailand, August. Vol. 4, pp.323-328.

-Kaplan, M. E. (1961) “Crack propagation and the fracture concrete”, ACI. J. Vol. 58, pp.596-610.

-Karihaloo, B. L. and Nallathambi, P. (1989) “Fracture toughness of plain concrete from tree bend specimens”, Mater. and. Struct. Vol. 22, pp.185-193.

-Malvar, L. J. and Warren, G. E. (1987) “Fracture energy for three point bend tests on single edge notched beams: Proposed evaluation”, Mater. and. Struc. Vol. 20, pp.440-447.

-Remennikov, A. M. and Kaewunruen, S. (2014) “Experimental load rating of aged railway concrete sleepers”, Eng. Struct. Vol. 76, pp.147–162.

-Remennikov, A. M. and Kaewunruen, S. (2007) “Resistance of railway concrete sleepers to impact loading”, Proceedings of the 7th. International Conference on Shock and Impact Loads on Structures, Beijing, China. pp.489-496.

-Rezaei, F., Shiri, M. R. and Farnam, S. M. (2012) “Experimental and numerical studies of longitudinal crack control for pre-stressed concrete sleepers”, Eng. Fail. Anal. Vol. 26, pp.21–30.

-Ruiz, G., Elices, M. and Planas, J. (1998) “Experimental study of fracture of lightly reinforced concrete beams”, Mater. and. Struct. Vol. 31, pp.683–691.

-Santosh, M. and Ghosh, M. A. (2015) “Multi-scale identification of concrete material parameters”, Theoretical. and. Applied. Fract. Mech. Vol. 75, pp.8-15.

Shah, S. P. and Mac-Garry, F. J. (1971) “Griffith fracture criterion and concrete”, J. of. Eng. Mech. Division. Vol. 97, pp.1663-1676.

-Shaowei, H. U., Jun, L. U. and Xiaoqing, Z. (2011) “Study on characteristics of acoustic emission property in the normal concrete fracture test”, Adv. Mater. Res. Vol. 189-193, pp.1117–1121.
SL (2006) 352-2006, Test code for hydraulic concrete of china. “Water Conservancy and Electric Power Press”, 2006.

-Thai, D. K. and Kim, S. E. (2014) “Analysis of reinforced concrete walls under impact loading using the finite element approach”, Eng. Fail. Anal. Vol. 45, pp.252-277.

-Vesely, V., Konecny, P. and Lehner, P. (2015) “Influence of crack propagation on electrical resistivity and ultrasonic characteristics of normal concrete assessed by sequential TPB fracture test”, Theoretical. and. Applied. Fract. Mech. Vol. 80, pp.2-13.

-Zhao, J., Chan, A. H. C. and Burrow, M. P. N. (2007) “Reliability analysis and maintenance decision for railway sleepers using track condition information”, J. Oper. Res. Soc. Vol. 58, pp.1047–1055.