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Development and Testing of Energy Absorbing Rear Underrun Barriers for Heavy Vehicles
Published May 13, 1996 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in United States
Rear underrun crashes involving heavy vehicles with rear overhangs represent the most extreme examples of the incompatibility between heavy and light vehicles, particularly passenger cars. This paper describes the design, development and prototype testing of a practical, effective energy-absorbing rear underrun barrier system. This builds on the extensive work previously undertaken demonstrating the effectiveness of well-designed, lightweight-but-rigid rear underrun barriers. T energy absorbing unit consists of two lightweight steel tubes, containing the energy absorbing glass fiber-reinforced composite tube. The full system exhibits very good force-deformation characteristics, with minimum energy absorption in excess of 40KJ. Testing has included static and dynamic loading, including centered and offset crash testing of the prototype unit to compare the injury outcome with that of a full-frontal barrier test of the same vehicle model.