OUR BLOG: INSIDE THE LIFT

10Jun 2014

High-Density Polymer Railroad Application Demonstration

By Susan Albershardt

URETEK Holdings is always ready to test their products and expertise using high-density polymers (HDP) on new and innovative applications.  When Ryan Rolfe of KSA, a supplier of pre-stressed concrete crossties and switch ties along with reinforced concrete products, contacted URETEK’s Joe Kindler to find out if URETEK’s injection method would work in stabilizing concrete panels used on commuter, transit and high speed rail systems, URETEK was up for the challenge.

KSA wanted to know what would happen after using the URETEK method to stabilize concrete rail panels.  Specifically, KSA wanted to test the strength of the bond between the panel and the URETEK product to find out if the concrete panels could be easily removed and replaced without disturbing the remaining ballast.

Two different tests were conducted. Panel A is on the left and Panel B is on the right.
Two different tests were conducted. Panel A is on the left and Panel B is on the right.

The Approach

With Panel A, two injections were centered in between the lifting anchor points.  With Panel B, three injection points were made between each railroad tie.  Approximately 75 pounds of material was inserted at each injection point.

A forklift would then be used to remove both concrete panels to test the strength of the bond and the impact to the railroad ballast.

There was minimal material separation and panel cleanup required.
There was minimal material separation and panel cleanup required.

The Outcome

After waiting 30 to 40 minutes for the product to cure, the forklift operator used the top of the fork to “pop” the panel free of the HDP material and ballast before lifting it off the railroad bed.

After examination, it was determined that the injection pattern used for Panel B had a much better spread.

URETEK's HDP material remains in place and the ballast has not be disrupted.
URETEK’s HDP material remains in place and the ballast has not be disrupted.

KSA, which is a partnership between Koppers and Lehigh Hanson, was pleased with the minimal amount of material that stuck to the bottom of the panel and the condition of the railroad bed after the panel was removed.  “With minimal cleanup, a new panel can be set in place of the removed one and benefit from the remaining HDP material for support,” said KSA’s Ryan Rolfe.