Located in nearby Rantoul, IL, ATREL is the site of research on railway ballast and related geotechnical phenomena. Specific equipment includes:
- Ballast Test Bed Setup with a 110 kip actuator. The actuator is operated under a precision servo-valve control in a closed-loop, servo-hydraulic system powered by a water-cooled high-pressure pump and regulated by a service manifold. This setup has recently been used to investigate ballast degradation and permanent deformation accumulation under dynamic loading of wood and steel crossties on track.
- Triaxial Ballast Tester equipped with a 22 kip servo-hydraulic actuator. Tests can be performed in a "load controlled" or "displacement controlled" mode, to accommodate repeated loads (dynamic) or monotonic strain-controlled shear strength testing of ballast samples.