Une description morphologique précise des grains pour l'étude numérique des propriétés mécaniques du ballast ferroviaire

Abstract : The ballast is the granular layer formed of irregular centimeter-sized rock grains, which supports the railway through the sleepers. Its role is crucial in the transmission of static and dynamic forces imposed by the movement of trains towards the ground supporting the track. To understand the phenomenon of ballast settlement, which increases significantly with the speed of the trains, and which requires costly maintenance operations, it is important to understand the influence of the grain morphology on the mechanical behavior of the ballast. Such is the objective of this thesis. First, an innovative method for particle shape characterization is developed, based on the Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD). When applied to highly accurate experimental data (3D scans of ballast grains), this technique enables the identification of an optimal set of shape functions, such that the shape information is condensed in a minimum number of coefficients. It becomes then possible to numerically generate granular assemblies that are representative of the morphology of ballast grains with different degrees of refinement according to the number of retained shape functions. In order to investigate their mechanical properties, the grains modeled by a limited number of coefficients have to be subjected to a meshing procedure and turned into convex polyhedra, suitable for numerical simulations of mechanical behaviours via the discrete element method (contact dynamics, using the LMGC90 software). We determine some fundamental characteristics such as the internal friction angle and the solid fraction in the critical state of quasistatic steady shear flow. These properties are stabilized after including a rather small number of shape functions in to the model (on the order of 10).The method also opens promising avenues for morphological characterization applications. It proves able to distinguish ballast grains with varying degrees of wear, or produced in different quarries. It also leads to a procedure for identifying faces and curvatures
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Noura Ouhbi. Une description morphologique précise des grains pour l'étude numérique des propriétés mécaniques du ballast ferroviaire. Infrastructures de transport. Université Paris-Est, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PESC1164⟩. ⟨tel-01730240⟩

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