Frontal impact finite element modeling to develop FRP energy absorbing pole structure

A. M. Elmarakbi*, K. M. Sennah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to contribute to the efficient design of traffic light poles involved in vehicle frontal collisions by developing a computer-based, finite-element model capable of capturing the impact characteristics. This is achieved by using the available non-linear dynamic analysis software "LS-DYNA3D", which can accurately predict the dynamic response of both the vehicle and the traffic light pole. The fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) as a new pole's material is proposed in this paper to increase energy absorption capabilities in the case of a traffic pole involved in a vehicle head-on collision. Numerical analyses are conducted to evaluate the effects of key parameters on the response of the pole embedded in soil when impacted by vehicles, including: soil type (clay and sand) and pole material type (FRP and steel). It is demonstrated from the numerical analysis that the FRP pole-soil system has favorable advantages over steel poles, where the FRP pole absorbed vehicle impact energy in a smoother behavior, which leads to smoother acceleration pulse and less deformation of the vehicle than those encountered with steel poles. Also, it was observed that clayey soil brings a slightly more resistance than sandy soil which helps reducing pole movement at ground level. Finally, FRP pole system provides more energy absorbing leading to protection during minor impacts and under service loading, and remain flexible enough to avoid influencing vehicle occupants, thus reducing fatalities and injuries resulting from the crash.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Automotive Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


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