Materiales de Construcción, Vol 67, No 327 (2017)

Optimisation of bitumen emulsion properties for ballast stabilisation

G. D’Angelo
Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre, the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

D. Lo Presti
Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre, the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

N. Thom
Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre, the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom


Ballasted track, while providing economical and practical advantages, is associated with high costs and material consumption due to frequent maintenance. More sustainable alternatives to conventional ballasted trackbeds should therefore aim at extending its durability, particularly considering ongoing increases in traffic speed and loads. In this regard, the authors have investigated a solution consisting of bitumen stabilised ballast (BSB), designed to be used for new trackbeds as well as in reinforcing existing ones. This study presents the idea behind the technology and then focuses on a specific part of its development: the optimisation of bitumen emulsion properties and dosage in relation to ballast field conditions. Results showed that overall bitumen stabilisation improved ballast resistance to permanent deformation by enhancing stiffness and damping properties. Scenarios with higher dosage of bitumen emulsion, higher viscosity, quicker setting behaviour, and harder base bitumen seem to represent the most desirable conditions to achieve enhanced in-field performance.


Aggregate; Characterization; Permeability; Deformation; Durability

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