Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Hota V. S. GangaRao.


Locomotives and "mine cars" often derail (often two or three times daily) in coalmines causing fatal injuries, fires initiated from sparks during derailment, and costly downtimes. Modular track panels (resembling the ladder track systems used in Japan) were designed and tested for bending behavior and load sharing characteristics, between track modules and also between rails, to improve safety of miners during transportation. Prefabricated track modules made of prestressed concrete and fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites were evaluated. Two modular prestressed concrete modules, each 15 ft long, were tested, as well as one set of prestressed concrete half-panels to test the proposed open joint. One FRP panel was also tested. Tests on the panels included static and dynamic loading at discrete locations to determine the response of the beams in a simulated mine foundation. Static tests of the modular panels included both vertical and horizontal loading. Fatigue tests were used to determine the change in stiffness of the modules. Rubber railpads were used to distribute load on the prestressed concrete panel. Two rubber pads were individually tested under dynamic loading to determine their change in stiffness and secant modulus. Results show good load distribution of the panels based on deflection and strain measurements. The results are compared to theoretical measurements obtained by using the program, Enercalc, and by also conducting a finite element analysis. The load distribution of the prestressed concrete and FRP modules are also compared.