Energy absorbant module
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A novel energy absorbing module is described which is relatively inexpensive, easy to make and provides for a relatively consistent crush resistance along its length when impacted axially. The module is made up of a generally cylindrical metal member which is formed from a roll of sheet metal that is wound into a tube having a spiral cross-section. A layer of spacer material, such as polyethylene foam, is placed adjacent the sheet metal so that the winds of the spiral are separated from one another. The energy absorbent module of the present invention provides a relatively constant and predictable level of crush resistance which makes it particularly suitable for such applications as an insert for a guardrail end treatment or other crash barrier. The module is formed by rolling a sheet of metal, or similar material, and the spacer sheet into a tubular or cylindrical form. A portion of one end of the module is then crushed slightly by impact loading. A binder may be applied to maintain the module in its cylindrical shape.In one exemplary embodiment, the module is used as an insert within barrels which are placed within a frame to provide a guardrail end treatment and used to dissipate energy from a collision in a controlled fashion. In another exemplary application, a module is used as a replaceable insert for a telescoping tube guardrail end treatment. The use of the module of the present invention in this application permits a relatively constant crush resistance to be created as the end treatment collapses telescopically.
Zimmer, Richard A. (2000). Energy absorbant module. United States. Patent and Trademark Office; Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from