Recent Projects in the Field of Track & Railway

(1) The Application of Optical Sensors for Railroad Top of Rail (TOR) Friction Modifier Detection and Measurements

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Develop technology to detect the condition of top-of-rail lubricity using laser optic reflective sensors and other appropriate optical sensors
  • Assess ToR material content for ToR lubricants, friction modifiers, and flange grease contamination
  • Conduct field tests for new technology for practical application accuracy
  • Develop design capable of movement onboard a Hyrail Vehicle or track geometry car

(2) Predictive Machine Learning Models for Rail-Vehicle Dynamic Simulation

This project aims at using any available field testing results to “tune” a railcar dynamic model’s parameters to increase its predictive accuracy


(3) Advanced Modeling of Railway Ballast for Improving Railroad Tamping Operation

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Develop modeling techniques for simulating tamping operation
  • Undertake parametric studies to optimize process variables
  • Explore new concepts for improving tamping results

(4) Determination of Lateral Resistance of Deck Tie Fasteners on Smooth Top Steel Bridge Girders

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Experimentally determine the lateral resistance and spacing requirements of tie fasteners on smooth-top steel bridge girders
  • Study the effect of dapped vs. un-dapped bridge ties on lateral resistance
  • Create a design aid for tie fastener types and tie types studied (Table or Equation)
  • Prepare code language for adoption into AREMA Chapter 15

(5) A Fundamental Study on the Rolling Contact Fatigue at the Microstructural Level

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Studying the effect of near surface grain characteristics on rolling contact fatigue (RCF)
  • Investigating the effect of pearlite properties (including the distance between layers and volume fraction of each phase) on RCF of rail
  • Experimental investigations on new and used rail samples to study the effect of loading during operation on the microstructural properties of the rail

(6) Monitoring and Detecting Fouled Ballast using Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) Aerial Technology

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Use drone-based thermal imaging technology to rapidly and efficiently survey areas of track that may have fouled ballast
  • Provide a historical database for the extent of fouling over time

(7) The Application of Doppler LIDAR Technology for Truck Geometry Assessment

The primary objectives of this research are to:

  • Demonstrate the applicability of LIDAR system for the simultaneous measurement of track speed, distance, track curvature, and track irregularity variations
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the LIDAR sensors in measuring track irregularities as compared with other established rail inspection techniques
  • Study the applicability of the Doppler LIDAR technology for capturing the track-induced dynamics and vibrations
  • Perform comprehensive field tests and collect real-time track geometry data from the Virginia Tech’s LIDAR system and the geometry car equipment for the purpose of performance evaluation and comparison purposes

Back to Homepage