Finite Element Modeling of an Energy-Absorbing Guardrail End Terminal

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-391X, e-ISSN: 1946-3928
Published February 07, 2020 by SAE International in United States
Finite Element Modeling of an Energy-Absorbing Guardrail End Terminal
Citation: Meng, Y., Hu, W., and Untaroiu, C., "Finite Element Modeling of an Energy-Absorbing Guardrail End Terminal," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 12(4):271-280, 2019,
Language: English


Guardrail end terminals are specifically designed to decelerate vehicles during impact and protect vehicle occupants from severe injuries. The main objective of this research was to develop and validate a Finite Element (FE) model of the ET-Plus, a commonly used energy-absorbing guardrail end terminal. The ET-Plus FE model was created based on publicly available data on ET-Plus dimensions and material properties. The model was validated against the NCHRP-350 crash tests 27-30 and 31-30 by performing crash simulations with a vehicle model at 100 km/h (62 mph) pre-impact velocity. To check the model robustness, crash simulations with vehicle pre-impact velocities from 97 km/h (60 mph) to 113 km/h (70 mph) were also performed. The developed ET-Plus FE model has a high-quality mesh and can replicate the energy-absorbing mechanism. The time histories of the vehicle yaw angle predicted in the FE simulations of the two NCHRP 350 crash tests showed good agreement with the corresponding test data. Additionally, the model was stable in crash simulations with the investigated range of pre-impact velocities, and both post-impact velocities and peak acceleration showed increasing trends with increasing impact velocities. This model could be used by safety researchers to investigate the performance of the ET-Plus end terminal in various crash scenarios and to investigate various possible design improvements of the end terminal and/or the front end of new vehicles.