Volume 36, Issue 1 (January 2013)
Development of a Large-Scale Infiltration Column for Studying the Hydraulic Conductivity of Unsaturated Fouled Ballast
To study the hydraulic behavior of fouled ballast, an infiltration column 600 mm high and 300 mm in diameter was developed. Five time domain reflectometer (TDR) sensors and five tensiometers were installed at various levels, allowing the measurement of volumetric water content and matric suction, respectively. The material studied was fouled ballast that was formed in the railway track-bed by penetration of fine-grained soil into the ballast. This material is characterized by a high contrast of size between the largest and the smallest particles. During the test, three stages were followed: saturation, drainage, and evaporation. Based on the test results, the water-retention curve and the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity were determined. The quality of the results shows the capacity of this large-scale infiltration column in studying the unsaturated hydraulic properties of such fouled ballast.