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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Rehabilitation of Deteriorated Wood Railroad Ties Using Inorganic Polymers: Final Report on Project F17-AR03

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published Aug. 5, 2019

The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has published the report/note described and linked below. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Report Number:



Rehabilitation of Deteriorated Wood Railroad Ties Using Inorganic Polymers: Final Report on Project F17-AR03


Ghassan K. Al-Chaar, Kaushik Sankar, and Waltraud M. Kriven


The U.S. Army owns and maintains about 1,900 miles of railroad track configured as short lines for mission-required on military installations where ordnance and other heavy freight must be moved in quantity onsite, or to connect with the national railroad network for long-distance transport. Almost all of crossties used in these rail lines are made of creosote-treated wood to support the rails. Wood offers several advantages in terms of life-cycle costs and structural suitability. Chemical treatment of wood ties extends their life cycles, but service life is still finite due to rot, consumption by insects, and other stressors. The removal and replacement of failed wood ties is costly, time-consuming, and disruptive to rail operations. Furthermore, the residual preservative chemicals also create a costly disposal problem. This report describes the development of a cementitious geopolymer material based on slag-fly ash binder mixtures formulated with properties making it suitable for use as a tough, affordable in situ tie-rehabilitation material. Two candidate formulations were validated in lab experiments as easy to prepare onsite, and demonstrating excellent flowability with good compressive and flexural strength. Field demonstrations are still required to validate rehabilitation procedures and performance characteristics in Army rail line operations

58 pages / 5.58 Mb


ERDC is a diverse research organization with approximately 2,000 employees operating more than $1 billion in world class facilities at seven laboratories. Its annual program exceeds $1 billion as it supports the Department of Defense and other agencies in military and civilian projects. Principal research areas include Soldier support, Engineered Resilient Systems, Environmental Quality and Installations, Geospatial Research and Engineering, Military Engineering, and Water Resources.  “Discover ▪ Develop ▪ Deliver”

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