One Korean company developed a product to reduce the harsh impacts of guardrails, and hopefully save lives.
Every year, approximately 1.25 million people die as a result of a road traffic crash. To prevent vehicles from driving off the road, strong metal bars, commonly referred to as guardrails, run along a road's edge.
According to Federal Highway Administration, the guardrail can operate to deflect a vehicle back to the roadway, slow the vehicle down to a complete stop, or let it proceed past the guardrail. But the guardrails cannot completely protect against the situations drivers may find themselves in. The size and speed of the vehicle can affect guardrail performance.
Typical guardrails composed of steel plates cannot guarantee a driver's’ safety. Softer guardrails protect drivers from shock and provide opportunities to save more drivers’ lives.
To minimize the number of accidents, a company called ETI (Evolution in Traffic Innovation) designed “Rolling Barrier System”.
Rolling guardrail - how does it work?
The rolling barriers do more than absorb impact energy. They convert that impact energy into rotational energy to propel the vehicle forward rather than potentially breaking through an immovable barrier.
The ETI product has a rotating barrel made of EVA with excellent shock absorption power, three-dimensional buffering frames and dense props supporting the frames. Rotating Barrels comes with an attached reflective sheeting for good visibility.
[Image Source: ETI]
EVA has a better flexibility and elasticity compared to other polyethylene resins and has most similar features to rubber. In fact, it's lighter than rubber and more elastic than urethane. In short, it's not easily damaged.
When a car hits the guardrail, the rotating barrel converts shock from the vehicle to rotational energy. Upper and lower frames adjust tires of large and small vehicles to prevent the steering system from a functional loss.
Railway rails and liquid props absorb shock from accident vehicles, and frames with the smooth surface adjust tires of the vehicles and guide them in the moving direction to prevent second rear-end collisions. The three-dimensional structure of the D-shaped frame and buffering bracket distribute and absorb the second shock.
Props at an interval of 0.7 m increase bearing power to prevent vehicles from further derailing. As the props are independent, only damaged parts need to be replaced. This keeps maintenance costs pretty low.
[Image Source: ETI]
The company manufactures different rolling barriers for roadsides, median strips, tunnels along with open guardrails for landscapes. They also manufacture traffic cones.
Crash Test details:
The vehicle crash test was performed on three different vehicles and the rolling barrier satisfied all the criteria.
- Small car
900 kg car, 20 0 side collision
During the evaluation, it was observed that the ETI product sends an accident vehicle back to the normal moving track, protects occupants and second vehicle accidents.
- Large Car
10-ton truck, 150 side collision
During the evaluation, it was observed that the ETI product changes the collision method to rotational friction to make collision continue for a long time and thus minimize momentary shock.
13-ton bus, 20 0 side collision
During the evaluation, it was observed that the ETI product changes the collision method to rotational friction to make collision continue for a long time and minimize momentary shock.
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Let's hope for safer roads in the future.
Written by Alekhya Sai Punnamaraju