Permanent deformation of track-bed materials at various inclusion contents under large number of loading cycles

Han Lin Wang, Yu Jun Cui, Francisco Lamas-Lopez, Jean Claude Dupla, Jean Canou, Nicolas Calon, Gilles Saussine, Patrick Aimedieu, Ren Peng Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


In the French conventional railway substructure, the interpenetration of ballast grains and subgrade fine soils that occurred over years of operation has created a new layer, namely, an interlayer. The in situ investigation on this interlayer showed that the content of ballast grains decreases over depth, with the lower part characterized by a matrix of fines with inclusions of coarse grains. In this study, the permanent deformation of a material simulating the lower part of interlayer soil was investigated at six different volumetric inclusion contents fv (volumetric ratio of the inclusion grains to the total sample) by performing cyclic triaxial tests. The results indicate that at a given cycle, the permanent deformation decreases with the increase of fv, and the evolution of permanent deformation is strongly influenced by the loading history. To further investigate the effect of inclusion content, a method that allows eliminating the influence of loading history and estimating the end-stage permanent deformations at different stress levels was applied. Quadratic polynomial and bilinear fitting methods were used to fit the variations of the estimated end-stage permanent deformations with fv, showing a proper similarity between the two methods at high loading amplitudes (higher than 15 kPa). Furthermore, the testing results revealed the existence of a characteristic volumetric inclusion content fv-cha by bilinear fitting method, separating two zones with different inclusion effects. This observation is strongly supported by the X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT) scans performed on the as-compacted samples. When fv ranges from 0 to 20% (smaller than fv-cha), the fines constitute the skeleton of the sample, and the permanent deformation decreases rapidly with the increase of fv. By contrast, when fv increases up to 35-45% (larger than fv-cha), the inclusions dominate the skeleton of the sample, leading to a slight decrease of permanent deformation with fv.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04018044
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Characteristic volumetric inclusion content
  • Cyclic triaxial tests
  • Interlayer soil
  • Permanent deformation
  • X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT) scans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science


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