This report describes the development and full-scale crash testing of a reusable crash cushion which dissipates kinetic energy through the lateral deformation of a row of nine-high molecular weight/high density polyethylene (HMW/HDPE) cylinders. This 100 km/h impact attenuation device, called the REACT 350.9, satisfies the new crash testing requirements of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350. It is the first crash cushion to be approved by the FHWA for use on the National Highway System for use under the NCHRP 350 guidelines.
Most impact attenuation devices currently employed require the replacement of damaged structural components and spent energy dissipating elements following an impact event. Until these repairs and refurbishments are carried out, these safety devices are largely ineffective in that they are not able to dissipate kinetic energy in a subsequent impact in an acceptable manner such that relevant occupant risk parameters are within prescribed limits. In some cases, a significant time elapses before damaged impact attenuation devices are repaired and restored to effective operating status. This system "down-time" is a source of danger to the motoring public and presents a potentially serious tort liability exposure to the transportation agency involved. The REACT 350.9 is a reusable and self restorative narrow hazard crash cushion. It can dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy, undergo significant deformations and strains without fracturing, and then essentially regain its original shape and energy dissipation potential upon removal of the load.