Development of Hybrid Energy-Absorbing Reusable Terminal for Roadside Safety Applications

The hybrid energy-absorbing reusable terminal (HEART) is a newly developed crash cushion or end terminal to be used in highway safety applications to mitigate injuries to occupants of errant vehicles. HEART is composed of corrugated plates of high-molecular weight, high-density polyethylene (HMW-HDPE) supported on steel diaphragms that slide on a fixed rail. Kinetic energy from errant vehicles is converted to other energy forms through folding and deformation of the HMW-HDPE material. Many previous designs utilized plastic or permanent deformation of plastics or steels to accomplish this goal. However, HEART is a combination of plastic and steel that forms a largely self-restoring and largely reusable crash cushion. Consequently, HEART has a major life-cycle cost advantage over conventional crash cushion designs. HEART was developed through extensive use of finite element analysis with LS-DYNA. The simulation approach adopted for the development of HEART, construction details, and a description and results of crash tests performed so far to evaluate its performance are presented. Also discussed is some of the follow-up work currently under way for approval of HEART by the Federal Highway Administration as an acceptable crash cushion for use on the National Highway System.


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  • Accession Number: 01003382
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309093767
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2005 1:55PM