Changes in properties and the internal structure of polyethylene polymer railway sleepers
More details
Hide details
DB Cargo Polska S.A. Polnad
Politechnika Śląska, Wydział Transportu i Inżynierii Lotniczej, Katedra Transportu Kolejowego, Poland
Submission date: 2023-07-11
Final revision date: 2024-01-23
Acceptance date: 2024-02-06
Online publication date: 2024-04-11
Publication date: 2024-04-11
Corresponding author
Łukasz Wierzbicki   

Politechnika Śląska, Wydział Transportu i Inżynierii Lotniczej, Katedra Transportu Kolejowego, Poland
Elements of the railway infrastructure are subject to difficult weather conditions, as well as changing dynamic loads resulting from the operation of a given part of the infrastructure. The following article presents an analysis of the internal macro and microstructure of a polymer railway sleeper made of reinforced polyethylene. The aim of the research was to obtain the results of structure, analysis of hardness measurements and identification of structure inconsistencies and the presence of other structural components in recycled polyethylene substrates. In terms of the tested material properties of the polyethylene sleepers, no significant changes in strength and plastic stability were found for the samples made of polyethylene tested before and after exposure to varying atmospheric conditions in the climatic chamber.
Special thanks go to DB Cargo Polska S.A. for their help in obtaining material for the tests and their general assistance. Some of the investigations presented in the paper were performed in the “Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Polymer Materials and Dyes”. Special thanks are going to Phd. Błażej Chmielnicki.
Esmaeili MH, Norouzi H, Niazi F. Evaluation of mechanical and performance characteristics of a new composite railway sleeper made from recycled plastics, mineral fillers and industrial wastes. Composites Part B: Engineering 2023; 254.
Yang Y, Xu C, Xia L, Tao O. Experimental study on mechanical properties of new FRP trusses reinforced sleepers under the stacking condition. Construction and Building Materials 2023; 401.
Ferdous W, Manalo A, Aravinthan T, Van Erp G. Properties of epoxy polymer concrete matrix: Effect of resin-to-filler ratio and determination of optimal mix for composite railway sleepers. Construction and Building Materials 2016; 124: 287-300.
Loos M. Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Composites: CNT Polymer Science and Technology Elsevier, UK 2014.
Singh A, Seth AK. A Review on Composite Railways Sleepers; Recent Developments, Limitations & Future Perspectives. Journal of Applied Material Science & Engineering Research 2023; 7(2): 145-149.
Manalo A, Aravinthan T, Karunasena W, Ticoalu A. A review of alternative materials for replacing existing timber sleepers. Composite Structures 2010; 92: 603-611.
Nosker TJ, Tewatia A. Development, testing, and application of recycled plastic composite sleepers. The Journal Prement Way Institution 2017; 135(2): 18-22.
Axion Structural Innovations. Available at:
Lankhorst Sneek. Available at:
Ferdous W, Manalo A, Van Erp G, Aravinthan T, Ghabraie K. Evaluation of an Innovative Composite Railway Sleeper for a Narrow-Gauge Track under Static Load. Journal of Composites for Construction 2017; 22(2).
Wróbel G, Wierzbicki Ł. Ultrasonic methods in diagnostics of glass-polyester composites. Journal of Achievements in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering 2007; 20: 203-206.
Zhao J, Chan AHC, Burrow MPN. Reliability analysis and maintenance decision for railway sleepers using track condition information. Journal of the Operational Research Society 2007; 8: 1047-1055.
Market volume of polyethylene worldwide from 2015 to 2021, with a forecast for 2022 to 2029.
Plastics – the Facts 2022. Plastics Europe. October 2022.
Wierzbicki Ł. Economic and technical aspects of manufacturing railway sleepers from polymeric materials. Wydawnictwo Naukowe TYGIEL Sp. z o. o. 2022; 123-135.
Formela K. Strategies for compatibilization of polymer/waste tire rubber systems prepared via melt-blending. Advanced Industrial and Engineering Polymer Research 2023.
Dorigato A, Fredi G. Effect of nanofillers addition on the compatibilization of polymer blends. Advanced Industrial and Engineering Polymer Research 2023.
Belioka MP, Siddiqui MN, Redhwi HH, Achilias DS. Thermal degradation kinetics of recycled biodegradable and non-biodegradable polymer blends either neat or in the presence of nanoparticles using the random chain-scission model. Thermochimica Acta 2023; 726.
Amin M, Najvani D, Murcia DH, Soliman E, Mahmoud M, Taha R. Early-age strength and failure characteristics of 3D printable polymer concrete. Construction and Building Materials 2023; 394:
20. 04.04.2022.
Bozorg-Haddad A, Iskander M, Chen Y, Compressive strength and creep of recycled HDPE used to manufacture polymeric piling. Construction and Building Materials 2012; 26(1); 505-515.
Iskander M, Bozorg-Haddad A. Spatial distribution of the compressive stress–strain of recycled polymeric piling. ASTM Journal of Testing and Evaluation 2011; 39(4): 3-6.
Bierögel C, Grellmann W. Compression Loading – data. In book: Polymer Solids and Polymer Melts-Mechanical and Thermomechanical Properties of Polymers 2014; 183-190.
Grellmann W, Seidler S. Polymer testing. Carl Hanser Verlag; Munich, 2013.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top