Dynamic Response of In-Line Pile Groups Subjected to Vehicle Impact
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2016 American Society of Civil Engineers. Groups of in-line piles connected by beams are being used to contain errant vehicles for roadside safety and perimeter protection of sensitive infrastructure. The effectiveness of in-line groups of piles to safely redirect or stop approaching vehicles has not been well investigated from the geotechnical point of view. In this paper, the performance of barriers is examined through full-scale crash tests and numerical simulations. The full-scale crash tests consisted of two different configurations of piles and beams as well as two different soil types: one was in loose sand and the other in hard clay. Both barriers were subjected to vehicle impact: one by a medium-duty truck and the other by a pickup truck. The barriers successfully contained the impacting vehicles. Detailed finite-element models of the barriers and the soil were developed and combined with the vehicle models to simulate the dynamic events. Comparison between predicted and measured behavior was used to calibrate the models. Additional simulations were performed to evaluate the effect of major structural and geotechnical design parameters including soil strength, pile spacing, and number of piles on the impact response of these systems. Practical recommendations are drawn from the experimental and numerical work.