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New model predicts high-speed rail vibrations

Posted February 25, 2014
New tool tests vibration caused by high-speed rail
Scientists have developed a new model to predict how much a new high-speed railway would shake the ground around it, and the effect this could have on those living near the line.

New high-speed train lines are likely to be built as cities grow, but the environmental impact of these new lines needs to be carefully considered.

One problem planners have foreseen is vibrations in the ground caused by trains passing at speed. These vibrations can be transmitted into walls and through floors of buildings near the railway lines.

While these vibrations would probably be too small to damage buildings, they could disrupt the work of buildings such as a hospital by affecting sensitive equipment.

Assessing the impact of a high-speed line requires expensive and impractical vibration tests, but scientists from Edinburgh and Belgium think they have found a way of taking accurate measurements for free.

‘The big challenge in this area is that vibration assessment is a very slow process; it’s very computationally demanding so previously some models took days or weeks. I was developing a new technique to predict this vibration,’ explains Dr David Connolly of Heriot-Watt University, lead researcher on the project. ‘My tool is instant.’


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