Wet/dry influence on behaviors of closed-cell polymeric cross-linked foams under static, dynamic and impact loads

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Polymeric materials have been used as critical components in a wide range of engineering structures in built environments. The superior characteristics of polymeric materials have led to various applications such as energy absorber during shock or impact events, lightweight structures, and thermal insulation. The key benefit is derived from relatively lower weight and density in comparison with other materials. The emphasis of this study is placed on closed-cell polymeric material, which is flexible and can potentially be manufactured as a rubber mat for railway track applications. A critical literature review reveals that the dynamic behavior of closed-cell polymeric material has not been fully investigated, especially when the materials are usually exposed to water. We are the first to present the wet/dry influences on the characteristics of closed cell cross-linked polyethylene foam under static, dynamic and shock loads. In our study, the water absorption and swelling of the materials are measured after 24 hours of immersion in de-ionized water. Static, dynamic, and impact loading are applied to closed-cell polymeric materials on both wet and dry states. The behaviors and responses of the materials can inform whether or not a closed-cell polymeric material can be used as under ballast mats and under sleeper pads in railway tracks under operational environments. Based on our results, it is found that this closed-cell-polymeric material is not suitable for use as under sleeper pads. However, they have reasonably strong potential for use as under ballast mats under various rail operational parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2018


  • Polymeric foam
  • cross-linked polyethylene foam
  • water absorption
  • dynamic characteristics
  • under ballast mat
  • under sleeper pad


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