• Question: How will sand and clay help with your studies?

    Asked by 378envf27 to Natalie on 19 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Natalie Wride

      Natalie Wride answered on 19 Jun 2016:

      Hi 378envf27 🙂

      You’ve asked some great questions!

      I want to know how the ground responds to lots and lots of vibrations caused by trains driving over it. In order to understand this it’s really important we examine the material that makes up the ground beneath the tracks and this is sand and clay. I’m mainly looking at clay because it squishes under lots of vibrations.

      Sand is a bit like a container of marbles – if you hit it lots and lots they just move about and stop moving once you stop hitting them. Clay is like playdough though – if you hit it lots it squishes. This is really important because the train line will eventually become bumpy if lots of area of the track start to squish – we can’t guarantee all places on the track will squish by the same amount 🙂

      These tests will help me understand what happens to the ground – what happens to the strength of it, what happens to the water in it and how it squishes. Once I know this, I can use these results to build a computer model that does all the calculations for you!