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Computational Science, Engineering & Technology Series
ISSN 1759-3158
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero, R. Montenegro
Chapter 19

Isolation and Vibration Due to Urban Rail Traffic

D. Le Houédec and M. Maldonado

GeM Laboratory, UMR CNRS 6183, Ecole Centrale of Nantes, France

Full Bibliographic Reference for this chapter
D. Le Houédec, M. Maldonado, "Isolation and Vibration Due to Urban Rail Traffic", in B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero, R. Montenegro, (Editors), "Innovation in Computational Structures Technology", Saxe-Coburg Publications, Stirlingshire, UK, Chapter 19, pp 393-416, 2006. doi:10.4203/csets.14.19
Keywords: railway vibrations, propagation of vibrations, vehicle-track interaction, attenuation of ground vibrations, isolation of vibrations, numerical methods.

The propagation of vibration from railways has been the subject of a lot of studies for over four decades. With regard to the increase in traffic, man is becoming more critical of the environmental conditions under which he has to live and work, in particular concerning noise and vibration. A methodology for the calculation of vibration transmission from railways needs on the one hand elaborate vehicle-track interaction models, and on the other hand mechanical soil characteristics, with the aim of studying the propagation of waves. For example, the attenuation of ground vibrations transmitted to buildings. If these cannot be isolated, several means of doing so are available. It may in the first instance seem easiest to insert a resilient material but the characteristics of this material have to be chosen carefully. Another proposal is to dig a trench or to build a concrete screen between the railway and the buildings. This review tackles these different points of view founded on numerical results and experimental data.

In this paper, we present various results concerning vibrations induced by the rail traffic (trains and tramways). We do not consider the local isolation of buildings against ground vibrations. Consequently, we limit our investigations to the proposal of models concerned with vehicle excitation, the track and the ground respectively. Results are obtained by numerical methods (finite element methods essentially) using various applications, for example, the efficiency of an elastic foundation for an "active" isolation, propagation of vibration in the ground with or without barriers (trenches or screens). In this last case, the use of adimensioned parameters is of prime importance for drawing common conclusions. When experimental data are available, a comparison between theoretical results and measurements also provides an interesting agreement. For the future, a better approach to the behaviour of coupled systems is required. Vehicle, track and ground need, on the one hand, a more elaborate model for vibration source, taking into account contact between the wheels and the rail. On the other hand a more suitable behaviour model for each soil layer is required.

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