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Bitumen stabilized ballast: a potential solution for railway track-bed

D'Angelo, Giacomo; Thom, Nicholas; Lo Presti, Davide

Bitumen stabilized ballast: a potential solution for railway track-bed Thumbnail


Giacomo D'Angelo

Assistant Professor

Davide Lo Presti


Railway ballast degradation under dynamic loads progressively leads to loss of mechanical performance and geometry of the track, so that maintenance interventions are frequently needed. In order to systematically avoid this issue, recently solutions have been proposed to reinforce track-bed by using polyurethane and/or resins as well as asphalt layers among others. Nonetheless, their main limitations are related to the high initial cost and low productivity.
To cope with these limitations, in this study, bitumen stabilized ballast (BSB) is proposed as a new solution for ballast stabilization. This method aims at improving durability and reducing settlement by modifying both stiffness and the ability of energy dissipation of the layer. The paper introduces the potential of this technology as material to be used in railway track-beds by presenting the results of a laboratory-based investigation using the Precision Unbound Material Analyser (PUMA). Different variables such as ballast grading, bitumen emulsion dosage, compaction method and stress levels are considered. Results showed a significant decrease in permanent deformation and deformation rate associated with modified stiffness and energy dissipation properties of BSB, which suggest the potential for improving long-term performance and sustainability of ballasted track.


D'Angelo, G., Thom, N., & Lo Presti, D. (2016). Bitumen stabilized ballast: a potential solution for railway track-bed. Construction and Building Materials, 124, 118-126.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 15, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 25, 2016
Publication Date Oct 15, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 20, 2016
Journal Construction and Building Materials
Print ISSN 0950-0618
Electronic ISSN 1879-0526
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 124
Pages 118-126
Keywords Bitumen stabilized ballast; Railway trackbed maintenance; Ballast stabilization; Ballast recycling
Public URL
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