A Direct Comparison of the Traditional Method and a New Approach in Determining 220 Transfer Lengths in Prestressed Concrete Railroad Ties


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This paper presents the detailed analysis of surface strain data obtained at six prestressed concrete tie plants in the United States. These data were obtained by the authors by conducting a total of 220 transfer length measurements on prestressed concrete railroad ties with different concrete-mix designs and reinforcement variations.

The surface strain profiles of the railroad ties were obtained using the traditional Whittemore gage, as well as a rapid non-contact technology, called laser-speckle imaging (LSI), that was previously developed by the authors. The LSI technique achieved a microstrain resolution comparable to that was obtained using mechanical gauge technology.

The measured surface strain profiles were then analyzed by both the 95% AMS (95% Average Maximum Strain) method, and the ZL (Zhao-Lee) method that was recently proposed by the authors. The ZL method is an unbiased statistical method that provides a more accurate and reliable transfer length determination. A direct comparison between the 95% AMS method and the ZL method was achieved by applying both methods to determine the 220 railroad tie transfer length values. The comparison confirmed the bias of the 95% AMS method in estimating transfer length value, as predicated by theoretical analysis.