Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of



Ronald K. Faller

Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Bridge Engineering 12:4 (2007), pp. 449–455. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)1084-0702(2007)


Copyright © 2007 ASCE. Used by permission.


An existing mountable safety barrier system, previously crash tested successfully on a wood bridge deck, was evaluated for use on a fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) bridge deck. In an attempt to avoid expensive full-scale crash testing, components of the existing system were evaluated using worst case conditions on two dynamic bogie crash tests and a series of computer simulations using nonlinear finite-element analysis. Simulation results closely approximated the physical results, with both displaying similar deformation, damage, and force levels. Both testing and simulation demonstrated that the barrier should function sufficiently if used on the FRP deck system. Further, the development of an accurate model makes it possible to evaluate the potential success of the existing system for use on other bridge decks. As an example, a more rigid bridge deck, similar to reinforced concrete, was evaluated. Results showed that due to the stiffer deck, more of the impact energy must be absorbed by the posts and attachment hardware, resulting in significantly more deformation than when used on the flexible FRP deck.