Guardrail terminals have evolved to the point where they absorb energy while utilizing tension in the rail to countermand the compression. However, non-gating terminals have yet to be developed. In the present study, the possibility of a non-gating guardrail terminal was investigated. Specifically, the combination of lateral and longitudinal forces that produce non-gating performance were determined from computer simulation. Next, a prototype terminal was crash tested at the research team’s lab. A terminal head was designed to deform guardrail, and its internal structure was adjustable to control the longitudinal force. Posts were designed to control lateral forces by modifying their section modulus. This controlled the force at which the posts buckled in response to a collision. A prototype was subjected to two 15-degree crash tests using an SUV and a small car. In both tests, the kinetic energy of the test vehicle was fully absorbed and MASH performance criteria would have been met. Neither vehicle passed beyond the terminal head, making these test results the first of their kind.
The final report is available.