Material Evaluation of an Elastomer, Epoxy and Lightweight Concrete Rail Attachment System for Direct Fixation Light Rail Applications
Swarner, Benjamin Robert
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Sound Transit plans to extend its current light rail system, which runs along the I-5 corridor in Seattle, Washington, across the I-90 Homer Hadley floating bridge as part of a project to connect the major city centers in the region. But, no light rail has ever crossed a floating bridge due to several unique engineering challenges. One of these challenges is attaching the rails to the existing bridge deck without drilling into the bridge pontoons. This research program was developed to test and analyze a direct fixation method that uses lightweight concrete plinths and an elastomer-epoxy system to attach the rails to the bridge deck. The elastomer used was a two-part, pourable elastomer with cork particles intermixed to alter the mechanical properties of the material. A lightweight concrete mixture was analyzed for use in the plinths, and system tests investigated the system response under tensile, compressive and shear loading. The shear response of the system was examined further under varying loading conditions including different surface preparations, elastomer thicknesses, strain-rates and after freeze-thaw conditioning. Experimental data was examined for trends based on these parameters to best characterize the system, and the elastomer was evaluated in the context of modern elastomer research.
- Civil engineering