The equivalent dynamic stiffness of a visco-elastic half-space in interaction with a periodically supported beam under a moving load

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A periodically supported beam on a visco-elastic half-space is considered to model the vibration of railway tracks. The viscosity of the half-space is assumed to be of the Kelvin-Voigt type. Making use of the concept of equivalent dynamic stiffness, the reaction of the half-space to the sleepers is replaced by a system of identical spring located under each sleeper. The frequency-dependent equivalent stiffness of the springs is a function of the phase shift of vibrations of neighbouring supports. The equivalent stiffness is derived analytically employing the contour integration technique, resulting in a comprehensive expression for different phase velocities of the waves in the beam with respect to the wave speeds of the half-space. Apart from the Rayleigh type surface wave (quasi-elastic wave), an extra visco-elastic surface wave may exist in a visco-elastic half-space depending on the parameters of the half-space and the frequency range. The existence of this second surface wave has not been addressed within the field of train-induced ground vibration. The importance of this wave for the equivalent stiffness is analysed. An effective method to determine the frequency range for the visco-elastic surface wave to exist is proposed.