Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2020, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (4): 189-199.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2020.00189


Dynamic behavior of the Qinghai-Tibetan railway embankment in permafrost regions under trained-induced vertical loads

Tuo Chen1,2,ZhiJian Wu3(),YanHu Mu2,Wei Ma2,JianZhou Wang1   

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Geomechanics and Deep Underground Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, Jiangsu 221116, China
    2.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
    3.School of Transportation Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210009, China
  • Received:2020-03-22 Accepted:2020-07-21 Online:2020-08-31 Published:2020-09-04
  • Contact: ZhiJian Wu


The unfrozen water content and ice content of frozen soil change continuously with varying temperatures, resulting in the temperature dependence of mechanical properties of frozen soil. Thus the dynamic behavior of embankment in permafrost regions under train loading also alters with seasons. Based on a series of strong-motion tests that were carried out on the traditional embankment of Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR) in permafrost regions, the acceleration waveforms recorded at the embankment shoulder and slope toes were obtained. Testing results show an obvious attenuation effect on the vertical train loading from road shoulder to slope toes. Furthermore, numerical simulations of a traditional embankment under vertical train loading in different seasons were conducted, and the dynamic behavior of the embankment was described. The results show that the vibration attenuation in the cold season is greater than that in the warm season. The maximum acceleration of vibration drops to about 5% when the train vibration load is transferred through the embankment into the permafrost, and the high-frequency components are absorbed when the vibration transmits downward. Moreover, the dynamic stress under the dynamic train loading decreases exponentially with an increasing depth in different seasons. The results can be a reference for design and maintenance of embankments in permafrost regions.

Key words: permafrost, railway embankment, numerical analysis, dynamic response

Figure 1

Configuration and soil profile of the test traditional embankment (unit: m)"

Figure 2

An ETNA strong-motion accelerometer installed in the field"

Figure 3

The measured acceleration waveforms in the vertical direction at the shoulder of the embankment"

Figure 4

(a) The measured acceleration waveforms at the slope toes, and (b) attenuation of the vertical acceleration"

Figure 5

The finite element model of the testing embankment (unit: m)"

Figure 6

Temperature distributions of the testing embankment in different seasons in 2011"

Table 1

Physical and mechanical parameters of the materials at the study site"

LithologyWater contentTemperatureDensity (kN/m3)Elastic modulus (kPa)Damping ratioPoisson ratioCohesion (kPa)Internal frictional angle
Ballast/5 °C20.02.00E50.200.30//
Roadbed filling26.3%2 °C19.06.10E40.100.313023o
26.3%-1 °C19.01.14E50.200.2912032o
Silty Clay20.0%0.5 °C18.02.80E40.100.3515022o
20.0%-1 °C18.05.40E40.150.3124030o
Mudstone15.2%-1 °C21.03.40E50.200.2534039o

Table 2

Comparison of the numerical simulation and field test results"

Right toeLeft toe
Acceleration (cm/s2)Attenuation rateAcceleration (cm/s2)Attenuation rate
Field testWarm season14.77.2%10.75.3%
Numerical testsWarm season13.26.5%9.84.8%
Cold season11.75.7%8.64.2%

Figure 7

The Vibration propagation characteristics in the warm season"

Figure 8

The Vibration propagation characteristics in the cold season"

Figure 9

Comparison of the PGA distribution in different seasons"

Figure 10

The maximum Von Mises stress distributions along with depth in different seasons"

Figure 11

The maximum S22 distributions along with depth in different seasons"

Table 3

The of fitting parameter values in different seasons"

Dynamic Stress (kPa)Warm seasonCold season
Von Mises stress51.832-0.31850.151-0.162
Dynamic compressive stress57.912-0.27360.151-0.148

Figure 12

The deformation-time histories on the embankment surface in different seasons"

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