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How do steel beam barriers (e.g. tension/untensioned beam barrier and open box barrier) function to contain vehicles upon crashing?

Steel beam barrier consists mainly of horizontal rails and vertical posts. When a vehicle hits the steel beam barrier, the kinetic energy is resolved in three components, namely vertical, normal to barrier and parallel to barrier. The vertical and normal components of kinetic energy are dissipated through deformation and bending of beam and supporting posts. As such, the remaining component (i.e. parallel) guides the vehicle back to the carriageway in a direction parallel to the barrier.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Is local vehicle parapet strong enough to contain vehicles?

The majority of local parapets are 1.1m high and they are designed to resist impact from a 1.5ton car moving at a speed of 113km/hr. In some locations such as in the vicinity of railway lines, barriers with 1.5m high are provided to contain a vehicle with 24ton at a speed of 50km/hr.

The impact situation for vehicles varies from event to event and they are dependent on the speed, size and angle of incidence of the impacting vehicle. Though full-scale crash test is the simplest way to prove their performance, computer simulation has been used extensively owing to its lower in cost. Based on the results of computer simulation and crash tests, it is established that the said parapets comply with international standard for safe usage.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Should vehicular parapets be designed to be strong?

Parapets are designed to satisfy different containment levels. The containment level represents the magnitude of impact that the parapet is supposed to uphold.

A parapet designed as low containment level can hardly withstand the impact by large vehicles which may even damage the parapet. On the other hand a parapet designed as high containment level can effectively contain safety large vehicle. However, when it is collided by light vehicles, it is expected that it would cause considerable damage to the light vehicles and its passengers on board. Therefore, strong parapets may not necessarily mean a good parapet.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

Can vehicular parapets withstand the collision of double-decked bus?

Basically the major problem associated with the collision of double-decked bus lies on the possible overturning of the bus upon collision. The overturning moment is the product of impact force and the difference in the centre of gravity of bus and the height of vehicular parapet. The restoring moment is the product of bus weight and 0.5 times the width of bus.

In fact, owing to the elastic deformation of both the parapet and bus, it is expected that the impact force, and hence the overturning moment may not be larger than the restoring moment for 1.1m high vehicular parapet. Computer simulations have to be conducted to verify if a double-decked bus traveling at a certain speed would roll over the parapet when impacted at a certain angle.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

When are the conditions which warrant the installation of safety barriers along roads?

In general there are several main conditions which warrant the installation of safety barriers along roads:

(i) It protects vehicles from hitting a roadside object (e.g. bridge pier, sign post, walls etc). Conversely, it protects the roadside object from damage by collision of vehicles.

(ii) It avoids the crossing over of vehicles over central median.

(iii) It protects the vehicle from falling down a steep slope (more than 3m high)

(iv) A poor record of accidents involving run-off vehicles.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.