Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Developement of an innovative railway sleeper

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.01.03  Engineering sciences and technologies  Civil engineering  Constructions in civil engineering 

Code Science Field
T002  Technological sciences  Construction technology 

Code Science Field
2.01  Engineering and Technology  Civil engineering 
Railway sleeper, dynamic influence, damage, durability, prolonged lifespan
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  35407  PhD Boris Azinović  Civil engineering  Researcher  2020 - 2021  74 
2.  20631  PhD Uroš Bohinc  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  110 
3.  09100  PhD Stane Božičnik  Traffic systems  Retired researcher  2018 - 2021  373 
4.  17982  Marko Brodnik    Technical associate  2018 - 2021  43 
5.  36674  PhD Denis Imamović  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  23 
6.  15673  PhD Andrej Ivanič  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  387 
7.  24337  PhD Miha Kramar  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2019  73 
8.  21593  PhD Stanislav Lenart  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  227 
9.  39821  Barbara Likar  Civil engineering  Researcher  2020 - 2021  108 
10.  08745  PhD Iztok Peruš  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  283 
11.  50895  Stanko Sarafimov  Mechanics  Researcher  2020 - 2021  42 
12.  10847  PhD Matjaž Skrinar  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  279 
13.  05940  PhD Andrej Štrukelj  Civil engineering  Researcher  2018 - 2021  662 
14.  27872  PhD Mojmir Uranjek  Civil engineering  Head  2018 - 2021  107 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0797  University of Maribor, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture  Maribor  5089638011  12,775 
2.  1502  Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute  Ljubljana  5866324000  10,354 
Railway sleeper along with rails, rail pads and fastening system represents an integral part of railway superstructure which is crucial for transfer of loads from rails to sleepers and substructure. There are various versions of railway sleepers such as wooden, concrete (mono block or twin block), steel (ordinary or Y shaped) and composite railway sleepers. Both types of sleepers have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of wooden sleepers is simple manipulation and installation, greater elasticity compared to concrete sleepers and hence quieter driving. Among disadvantages are the demanding maintainace of track width, possibility of rotting, usage of ecologically equestionable substances for impregnation and the possibility of self-ignition due sparking as a consequence of breaking of the train composition. On the other side concrete sleepers are more weather and fire resistant, allow for a greater degree of adjustment relating to the actual load, and, because of their weigth, provide greater stability of the upper structure. Since concrete sleepers are more rigid, driving is louder, and for smaller radii, fracture is possible due to their fragility. Although wooden railway sleepers have many advantages and can in some cases reach or even exceed life span of concrete sleepers, they require more frequent maintenance, mainly due to the loosening of the fixing material. In particular in case of concrete sleepers, the main problem arises in the contact area between sleeper and ballast track bed as a consequece of its poor quality. By dynamic loading, especially in curves, the ballast stones tend to crush resulting in the formation void under the central part of the sleeper.The ballast stones at the contact surface between the concrete sleepers and track bed are eventually formed into dust due to large dynamic loads, vibration and friction. Then due to the air humidity, powder solidifies and forms a kind of hardened mortar, which instead of the desired resilient substrate presents an undesirable rigid support for the above concrete sleeper. As a result, a reduction in the elasticity of the track substructure cause additional adverse vibrations, followed by deformations of the track itself and various damage of the concrete sleepers. The load distribution consequentlly changes. Under such conditions, the anticipated life span of concrete sleeper is considerably reduced. The phenomenon is specific by usage of lower quality of ballast such as dolomite or limestone, that is due to economic reasons typical for the Slovenian rail network and is more prononunced by concrete than wooden sleepers. The same problems occur on rigid surfaces where track bed is located on bedrock. Usually in this areas the thickness of the ballast track bed is small, resulting in damage of concrete sleepers. It is necessary to take into account that the damage can also occur in the maintenance works, when track bed has to be consolidated using the tamping technique. There are several solutions in order to prevent the above mentioned problems. One possibility is to install elastomeric materials between the rail and the concrete sleeper. For this purpose various types of intermediate underlay rubber plates with different thickness and hardness have been developed. The usage of concrete sleepers with lower layer with pronounced elastic properties-e.g. rubber especially in the areas of switches and curves is also known. Both options reduce or completely eliminate the phenomena of crushing of ballast stones, second option in addition also increases the resistance against tranverse movements. One of solutions is usage of twin-block concrete sleepers with connecting reinforcement in central part, but it does not provide enough transverse resistance in curved parts of the railway track. It can be concluded that both wooden as well as concrete sleepers have certain advantages and disadvantages and would therefore be useful to explore the possibility of p
Significance for science
Analytical and experimental research carried out within the framework of the project will contribute to better understanding dynamic load of the railway slippers on hard surfaces. The ballast railway track bed is an extremely complex system, which is difficult to describe mathematically, for all possible conditions in practice. The performed research will enable a better understanding of this interaction. Developing mathematical models and experimental research will also enable further development and improvement of railway slippers on the existing railway infrastructure.
Significance for the country
Slovenian Railways is to be considered as the main beneficiary of the project results. Expected prevention of crushing ballast stones below railway track will lead to the prolonged lifespan of railway slippers and consequently to the decrease of maintenance cost and investment needed for renovation of railway tracks. Further benefits would be given to producers of railway slippers that could take advantage of research in their commercial product sold at domestic or foreign markets. The longer lifespan of the innovative railway slippers and possibilities of using recycling materials will additionally contribute to sustainable development and low carbon society. An additional aspect in this context is the possibility of re-use (recycling) of materials, as rubber from worn car tires is expected to be used by designing an innovative railway sleeper.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2018, 2019, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2018, 2019, final report
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