Calibration for discrete element modelling of railway ballast: A review

Yunlong Guo, Chunfa Zhao, Valeri Markine, Guoqing Jing, Wanming Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


The discrete element method (DEM) has been confirmed as an effective numerical method for modelling railway ballast, and successfully used to analyse a wide range of ballast-related applications (e.g. geomaterials). However, there still exists some aspects under development. Among them, the model calibration can be the most significant one (morphology, degradation and contact model). Because reliable and accurate results can be obtained only when the parameters are carefully selected. Therefore, diverse DEM applications and developments in railway ballast are critically reviewed. Furthermore, the model calibration methods are discussed. This is able to help future researchers improve the existing calibration methods, further, build more accurate, standardised and validated DEM models for ballast-related studies. Additionally, this paper can assist researchers to choose an appropriate model for specific applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100341
Number of pages22
JournalTransportation Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript


  • Ballast
  • Calibration
  • Contact model
  • Degradation
  • Discrete element method
  • Morphology
  • Particle shape


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