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Structural Concrete, Vol. 9, no. 3, September 2008

Load carrying capacity of cracked concrete railway sleepers

Håkan Thun, Lulå University of Technology, Sweden
Sofia Utsi, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
Lennart Elfgren, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

The load carrying capacity of damaged prestressed concrete railway sleepers has been investigated in order to obtain information about how the cracking influences the remaining load carrying capacity compared with an uncracked sleeper. The following tests have been performed: bending capacity of the midsection, the rail section, horizontal load capacity of the fastener, control of the concrete properties and fatigue capacity in bending of the rail section. A visual inspection and classfication of the damages are also presented. The test results have been compared with calculations according to the Swedish railway code for sleepers and show that railway sleepers are quite robust. Small cracks do not seem to influence the load carrying capacity and it is first when the cracking is very severe that the load carrying capacity is reduced significantly.

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