Effect of Imperfections on Vertical Track Buckling

by Yehia M. El-Aini, Sr. Project Engr.; Soundstrand Aviation, Rockford, Ill.; formerly, Assoc. Research Scientist, Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Princeton Univ., Princeton, N.J.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 6, Pg. 1327-1340

Document Type: Journal Paper


The paper deals with the effect of geometric imperfections on the post-buckling characteristics of railroad tracks. The analysis is restricted to the case of vertical track buckling due to constrained thermal expansion in which the track is assumed to lift itself up over a finite span. The imperfections are categorized into two cases: Case (A) in which the region of imperfection is larger than the span of lift off and Case (B) in which the imperfection region is smaller than the span of lift off. It is shown that while a perfectly straight track does not exhibit bifurcation points from the undeformed state, the imperfect track does and that the bifurcation temperature in Case (A) is lower than in Case (B) for the same ratio of imperfection amplitude to span. Increasing the imperfection amplitudes reduces the bifurcation temperatures significantly. The bifurcation temperature as well as the safe temperature increase are higher for heavier tracks.

Subject Headings: Bifurcations | Temperature effects | Buckling | Thermal analysis | Geometrics | Post buckling | Railroad tracks | Case studies

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