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barrels, those round, plastic devices usually seen at exit ramps on highways,
freeways and tollways across the country,absorb
energy and cushion the impact of crashes, save lives, lessen serious injuries
and minimize property damage.
called "highway impact attenuation devices," the yellow barrels,
which are filled with sand,are
the product of multiagency, federal government support, including $200,000
in NSF funding.
NSF grantees at Vanderbilt University conducted research intoenergy
and into large deformation of tubular (barrel) structural systems. Then
the Connecticut Department of Transportation added its research, including
design criteria and hardware for energy absorption and dissipation, as
well as results from the direct crashing of vehicles.
Along with helping to saves lives, the yellow barrels are credited with
saving an estimated $400 million annually in property damage and medical