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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Carlton L. Ho

Second Advisor

Ching S. Chang

Third Advisor

William P. Clement

Fourth Advisor

James P. Hyslip

Subject Categories

Geotechnical Engineering


A complete study was performed to develop correlations between electromagnetic and mechanical properties of ballast. These correlations can be used to predict the deformation properties of ballast and also its dynamic behavior under heavy axle load in different fouling and moisture conditions by GPR survey. By developing this technique and performing similar tests on different types of ballast and fouling materials, a criterion can be developed to detect the railroad high risk areas and predict the engineering properties of ballast by GPR surveys. This study was performed on granite ballast and breakdown fouling and has three phases: performing GPR survey on full-scale laboratory models with different amount of fouling and water content; performing box test with equivalent dynamic Heavy Axle Load (HAL) up to 2,500,000 cycles on the reconstituted samples of first phase; performing CIDC triaxial tests on the reconstituted samples of first phase. In these phases the effect of water content and fouling percentage on the electromagnetic, dynamic and static properties of ballast was investigated and discussed quantitatively and qualitatively. In addition, existing correlations between electromagnetic and deformation properties of fouled ballast were studied in both time domain and frequency domain analyses from first and third phases. The results show that there are correlations between electromagnetic and mechanical properties of ballast. Plots for predicting the maximum shear strength and elastic modulus of ballast by measured electromagnetic parameters have been presented.