Abstract

Prestressed concrete railroad ties are crucial components of the railway system. These ties carry heavy loads and endure constant exposure to the elements. As water infiltrates the concrete, it can freeze and expand, exerting substantial pressure on the material. Subsequently, when the temperature rises, the ice within the concrete melts, causing the material to contract. This continuous expansion and contraction can lead to the formation of cracks, weakening the structural integrity of the concrete. In railway applications, this poses a significant problem, as damaged ties can compromise the safety and reliability of train tracks.

The focus of this study is to determine the impact of fiber reinforcement on the performance of concrete under freeze-thaw conditions. Notably, fiber reinforcement has been used as a means to reduce and control cracking in various concrete applications. The entire concrete construction is reinforced by a network made of steel fibers. The fibers act as a bonding agent when a fracture develops, allowing for the delayed propagation of cracks and the absorption of tensile loads at any point.

Concrete with steel fiber reinforcement has a greater potential to absorb energy during fracture. Demonstrating greater support structure, homogeneity and easier application logistics are just two advantages of fiber-reinforced concrete. This observation raises questions about the role that fiber reinforcement can have in increasing freeze-thaw durability and resistance to cracking. The random distribution of fibers in concrete railroad ties, often used to enhance tensile strength and crack resistance, might be the missing link needed for better durability of these ties. The aim of this research is to find a middle ground between improving concrete strength and longevity through fiber reinforcement and reducing the chances of localized damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

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