CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractRailways are an efficient transport mode, but building and maintaining railway tracks has a significant environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions and use of raw materials. This is particularly true for slab tracks, which require large quantities of concrete. They are also more expensive to build than conventional ballasted tracks, but require less maintenance and have other advantages that make them a good alternative, especially for high-speed lines. To contribute to more sustainable railways, this paper aims to optimize the design of one of the most common slab track typologies: RHEDA 2000. The main objective is to reduce the amount of concrete required to build the slab without compromising its performance and durability. To do so, a model based on finite-element method (FEM) of the track was used, paired with a kriging metamodel to allow analyzing multiple options of slab thickness and concrete strength in a timely manner. By means of kriging, optimal solutions were obtained and then validated through the FEM model to ensure that predefined mechanical and geometrical constraints were met. Starting from an initial setup with a 30-cm slab made of concrete with a characteristic strength of 40 MPa, an optimized solution was reached, consisting of a 24-cm slab made of concrete with a strength of 45 MPa, which yields a cost reduction of 17.5%. This process may be now applied to other slab typologies to obtain more sustainable designs.



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