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Mid-America Transportation Center

Development of Advanced Finite Element Material Models for Cable Barrier Wire Rope

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: John Reid (jreid1@unl.edu 402-472-3084)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Robert Bielenberg (rbielenberg2@unl.edu 402-472-9064)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Mid-America Transportation Center
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Cable barriers are a common safety device used on the nation's highway system. While the design of cable barriers has advanced and their usage has increased over recent years, no research has been done to investigate or improve the wire rope used as the most critical component of the cable barrier system. The current 3/4-in. diameter 3x7 wire rope design dates back to the late 1960's and has remained unchanged even as the design of other cable barrier elements has advanced. Realization of new, innovative cable barriers and their accompanying safety benefits hinges on the development of advanced tools for analysis and design of wire rope used in these types of systems. This research study proposes to develop methodologies and material models for simulating wire rope in large deformation impact scenarios. The first step in the development is to study the current wire rope through a series of dynamic component tests. The results of those tests will be used to characterize the behavior of the wire rope. This characterization, combined with existing wire rope knowledge, will be used to develop strategies for effectively modeling wire rope.
    Research Objective
    Characterize the dynamic behavior of the cable (i.e. wire rope) used in cable barrier systems through a series or dynamic component tests. Use this knowledge to develop material modeling strategies and constitutive models for the wire rope for simulating highway speed impacts into cable barrier systems.
    Potential Benefits
    The capability to model wire rope performance will provide a basis and a springboard for innovations in cable barrier systems as well as in the wire rope itself. This will ultimately result in a corresponding increase in the overall safety of the nation's transportation infrastructure.
    Abstract
    Cable barriers are a common safety device used on the nation's highway system. While the design of cable barriers has advanced and their usage has increased over recent years, no research has been done to investigate or improve the wire rope used as the most critical component of the cable barrier system. The current 3/4-in. diameter 3x7 wire rope design dates back to the late 1960's and has remained unchanged even as the design of other cable barrier elements has advanced. Realization of new, innovative cable barriers and their accompanying safety benefits hinges on the development of advanced tools for analysis and design of wire rope used in these types of systems. The primary design tool for advancements in roadside safety and crashworthiness has been the use of non-linear finite element analysis (FEA). However, FEA has not been widely applied to cable barrier design due to the lack of a method for simulating the detailed behavior of the wire rope. This research study proposes to develop methodologies and material models for simulating wire rope in large deformation impact scenarios. The first step in the development is to study the current wire rope through a series of dynamic component tests. The results of those tests will be used to characterize the behavior of the wire rope. This characterization, combined with existing wire rope knowledge, will be used to develop strategies for effectively modeling wire rope. The wire rope material model will be developed for use in the LS-DYNA simulation code. The capability to model wire rope performance will provide a basis and a springboard for innovations in cable barrier systems as well as in the wire rope itself. This will ultimately result in a corresponding increase in the overall safety of the nation's transportation infrastructure.
    Project Amount
    $ 251,291
    Modal Orientation
  • Economics
  • Highways
  • Structures