Numerical simulations of the performance of steel guardrails under vehicle impact
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Road side barriers are constructed to protect passengers and contain vehicles when a vehicle crashes into a barrier. In general, full-scale crash testing needs to be carried out if a geometrically and structurally equivalent barrier has not previously been proven to meet the requirements of containing the vehicle and dissipating sufficient impact energy for passenger protection. As full-scale crash testing is very expensive, the number of data that can be measured in a test is usually limited, and it may not always be possible to obtain good quality measurements in such a test, a reliable and efficient numerical simulation of crash testing is therefore very useful. This paper presents finite element simulations of a 3-rail steel road traffic barrier under vehicle impact. The performance levels defined in Australian Standards AS5100 Clause 10.5 for these barriers are checked. The numerical simulations show that the barrier is able to meet low performance levels. However, the maximum deceleration is higher than the acceptable limit for passenger protection. If present, a kerb launches the vehicles into the barrier, allowing for the possibility of overriding the barrier under certain circumstances, but it redirects the vehicle and reduces the incident angle, which reduces impact force on the barrier. Further investigation into all common kerb profiles on roads should be carried out, as only one kerb profile is investigated in this study.
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