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Characterisation and Tribological Testing of Recycled Crushed Glass as an Alternative Rail Sand

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sadaf MaramizonouzORCiD, Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In the UK Network Rail Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020–2050, minimal waste and the sustainable use of materials are highlighted as core priorities. The ambition is to reuse, repurpose or redeploy all resources. In low adhesion conditions, sand particles are used to enhance traction throughout the network. However, sand is in danger of becoming scarce as many applications demand it. In this study, an alternative adhesion enhancing particle system made of recycled crushed glass is examined in terms of density, size, shape distribution, mineralogy, mechanical properties, and bulk behaviour to better understand their characteristics in comparison with the typical Great British rail sand currently in use and reported in the literature. Their effects on tribological behaviour and surface damage are also investigated using the High-Pressure Torsion test in dry, wet, and leaf-contaminated conditions. Both particle characterisation and tribological testing show promising results. Recycled glass particles provide an acceptable level of traction with a similar level of rail damage as typical rail sand. It is suggested to perform full-scale laboratory and field tests to further confirm the suitability of this material.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maramizonouz S, Nadimi S, Skipper W, Lewis R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

Year: 2023

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 23/03/2023

Acceptance date: 23/03/2023

Date deposited: 23/03/2023

ISSN (print): 0954-4097

ISSN (electronic): 2041-3017

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/09544097231164716


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/V053655/1 RAILSANDING - Modelling Particle Behaviour in the Wheel-Rail Interface