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Advanced Math/Track Ballast - Alternative Materials.

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Question
Dear Prof Scott

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_ballast

Which could be the alternative materials which can be used / tried out instead of Ballast or crushing stones ?. viz Cement, plaster of Paris, sand, metal, non metals etc for railway tracks ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
I never thought about this before, but using gravel seems like it is the only way to go.

Gravel has that property of being strong enough under the railroad, not being subject to ever breaking, and not being very easy to move around.

If cement were used, it would crumble to quickly and quickly become too cracked to support the track.

If plaster of Paris were used, it would not be strong enough to support trains for very long.

If sand were used, it would quickly be blown away since it is so fine.  Just look at the way beaches change shape.

If metal were used, it would cost far too much to be used since they need a lot of it.

If non-metals were used, they would not be strong enough.

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Scott A Wilson

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I can answer any question in general math, arithetic, discret math, algebra, box problems, geometry, filling a tank with water, trigonometry, pre-calculus, linear algebra, complex mathematics, probability, statistics, and most of anything else that relates to math. I can also say that I broke 5 minutes for a mile, which is over 12 mph, but is that relevant?

Experience

Experience in the area; I have tutored people in the above areas of mathematics for over two years in AllExperts.com. I have tutored people here and there in mathematics since before I received a BS degree back in 1984. In just two more years, I received an MS degree as well, but more on that later. I tutored at OSU in the math center for all six years I was there. Most students offering assistance were juniors, seniors, or graduate students. I was allowed to tutor as a freshman. I tutored at Mathnasium for well over a year. I worked at The Boeing Company for over 5 years. I received an MS degreee in Mathematics from Oregon State Univeristy. The classes I took were over 100 hours of upper division credits in mathematical courses such as calculus, statistics, probabilty, linear algrebra, powers, linear regression, matrices, and more. I graduated with honors in both my BS and MS degrees. Past/Present Clients: College Students at Oregon State University, various math people since college, over 7,500 people on the PC from the US and rest the world.

Publications
My master's paper was published in the OSU journal. The subject of it was Numerical Analysis used in shock waves and rarefaction fans. It dealt with discontinuities that arose over time. They were solved using the Leap Frog method. That method was used and improvements of it were shown. The improvements were by Enquist-Osher, Godunov, and Lax-Wendroff.

Education/Credentials
Master of Science at OSU with high honors in mathematics. Bachelor of Science at OSU with high honors in mathematical sciences. This degree involved mathematics, statistics, and computer science. I also took sophmore level physics and chemistry while I was attending college. On the side I took raquetball, but that's still not relevant.

Awards and Honors
I earned high honors in both my BS degree and MS degree from Oregon State. I was in near the top in most of my classes. In several classes in mathematics, I was first. In a class of over 100 students, I was always one of the first ones to complete the test. I graduated with well over 50 credits in upper division mathematics.

Past/Present Clients
My clients have been students at OSU, people who live nearby, friends with math questions, and several people every day on the PC. I would guess that you are probably going to be one more.

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