Soft Walls for Racetrack Barriers through the Use of Slatted Wall Design: A Conceptual First Analysis 2002-01-3343
For a number of years, racetrack designers have been considering various designs for energy-absorbing or “soft” walls. Moving walls, water-filled barrels, tire walls and walls coated with various materials have all been suggested or employed to varying degrees of success. In this paper, a new concept involving a series of slats placed outward from the walls is outlined. First, fundamental requirements for a soft wall design are laid down. Then the development of the slatted wall is presented, along with a series of design variables able to be adjusted for particular applications. The slats have multiple modes of energy dissipation and absorption, and calculations show that the concept has good promise. Evaluation of various design alternatives can be largely done computationally, rather than experimentally, a great advantage given the expense of full-scale barrier testing. The design represents a low-cost, effective, easily retrofitted alternative to rigid wall contact force attenuation.