Flexural behavior of hybrid GFRP - concrete railway sleepers

Abstract This paper aims to present the flexural behavior of hybrid GFRP (glass fiber reinforced polymer) concrete beams as sleepers to railway application. It was tried to obtain sleepers with adequate mechanical resistance, not susceptible to corrosion, durable and lighter than the sleepers in prestressed concrete. Pultruded fiberglass and polyester resin profiles were filled with high strength concrete and polyolefin fiber in the following proportions by volume: 1% and 2.5%. The beams were 1.06 meters long and had a 76 mm x 76 mm x 6 mm cross section, corresponding to a reduced model in a 1: 2.64 scale of a 2.80 meters long sleeper. In the bending tests, the load was applied at the center of the sleeper, as provided in the Brazilian standard NBR 11709 (2015) and American standard AREMA (2016). During the tests the applied load, the vertical deflection and the longitudinal tensile and compression deformations were measured in the center of the span. The influence of fiber addition on the strength, rupture mode and flexural modulus of elasticity of the hybrid beams was analyzed. Finally, the hybrid sleeper performance was compared to that of the prestressed concrete monoblock sleeper. The results obtained were satisfactory, indicating that the proposed hybrid sleeper is a constructively and technically feasible alternative.