Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering
On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019
VORSTER, D J and GRABE, P J. The use of ground-penetrating radar to develop a track substructure characterisation model. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2013, vol.55, n.3, pp.69-78. ISSN 2309-8775.
The characterisation of track substructure is an integral component of track maintenance and rehabilitation. Traditionally this is done by determining the geotechnical properties of the discrete track formation layers by excavating test pits and sampling the substructure layers. The development of geophysical investigation techniques such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR) allows continuous assessment of the condition of the track substructure. The research described in this paper uses GPR to develop a track substructure characterisation model and provides classifications for both the ballast and formation layers. The ballast and formation were classified into four classes, namely very good, good, moderate and poor. When applying the model to two sections of track (with generally good and poor quality) 82% and 100% of classes had only one class difference compared to the traditional characterisation tests for the formation and ballast layers respectively. The GPR track substructure characterisation model that was developed therefore compares well with traditional characterisation techniques and will result in significant cost and time reduction. The characterisation of the track using GPR provides a continuous classification and enhances the accuracy of the data on which a maintenance engineer can base decisions.
Keywords : track substructure; characterisation; ground-penetrating radar; ballast fouling; earthworks.