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High strength steel and Magnelis® contribute to road safety in Chile

Together with Chilean manufacturer Tecnovial, ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D division has recently completed the development of a road safety barrier. The new barrier utilises high strength steel from ArcelorMittal and our unique Magnelis® coating to provide durable solutions for Chile’s roads.

The Chilean road authority Ministerio de Obras Públicas (MOP) has implemented several initiatives to improve road safety within the South American country. One of first was the adoption of the European standard (EN 1317) for safety barriers on the Chilean road network.

Tecnovial and ArcelorMittal: long-term partners

Tecnovial, a long-term customer of ArcelorMittal South America, is one of the main manufacturers of road safety barriers in Chile. To meet the new requirements, Tecnovial needed to develop a high-containment (H2 level) barrier system which can contain and redirect vehicles weighing up to 13 tonnes.

Tecnovial approached ArcelorMittal to help them develop the H2 barrier solution. “ArcelorMittal already has experience with the EN 1317 standard and with Tecnovial,” notes Horacio Pinochet Vejar, general manager of Tecnovial. “We are also well aware of their high strength steel offer and the benefits of Magnelis®. Together this made ArcelorMittal the ideal partner for the project.”

Technical development of the new barrier solution was carried out by CRM Group’s AC&CS (Advanced Coatings & Construction Solutions) department, a strategic partner of ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D division. During the development process AC&CS relied on Tecnovial’s experience in safety barrier production to design a cost-effective solution that fits the requirements of the Chilean market. Work on the new barrier started at the AC&CS research centre in Liège (Belgium) in late 2015.

Process considerations influence grade selection

“We selected ArcelorMittal’s high strength steel grade S420MC for the new barrier,” explains Claudia Cofano, project leader for AC&CS. “The decision to use high strength steel allowed us to design a lighter, more competitive product which is also visually appealing and very easy to install.”

S420MC meets the EN 10149-2 standard and offers the best combination of strength and formability for this application. By choosing a steel suitable for cold-forming, AC&CS ensured that the new barrier could be produced using Tecnovial’s existing equipment and processes.

A big step forward for road safety in Chile

ArcelorMittal recommended that the high strength steel used in the new barrier should be coated with Magnelis®, a unique protection solution which can extend the life of safety barriers significantly. Tecnovial was familiar with Magnelis®, having been introduced to the coating in 2014 by ArcelorMittal.

Magnelis® offers many benefits including:

  • Self-healing protection on cut edges
  • Guarantees of up to 20 years in road restraint systems 
  • Significantly lower zinc runoff to soil compared to traditional galvanisation solutions.

The last requirement meets new Chilean environmental regulations on soil protection. As Chile is a major exporter of food and wine, the government has introduced strict regulations to control soil pollution. Magnelis® is the right corrosion protection solution as it ensures durability and preserves the environment.

Once the design of the barrier was completed, AC&CS used advanced calculation tools to numerically test various impact scenarios. AC&CS engineers also tested individual components to ensure their mechanical performance was fully understood. Using this very detailed modelling approach, AC&CS could optimise the barrier design and accurately predict crash-test performance.

New barriers first in Chile to comply with European standards

By February 2016, the new road safety barrier was ready for real-life tests. An 80-metre section of the barrier was installed at the CSI crash-test centre in Bollate (Italy). The barrier was then tested by CSI to ensure it passed the TB11 and TB51 tests specified in EN 1317.

The H2 barrier is made of three main components:

  1. C-posts every two metres (thickness 3.5 mm)
  2. Thrie beam (thickness 2.5 mm)
  3. D-spacers (thickness 6.0 mm).

TB11 requires a small car (900 kg) to be driven into the barrier at an angle of 20° and speed of 100 kilometres per hour (km/h). By contrast, TB51 requires a 13-tonne bus to be driven into the barrier at the same angle, and a speed of 70 km/h. The barrier passed both tests, enabling it to be CE certified. This was a first for a road safety barrier developed in cooperation with a Chilean company.

Watch the test videos here

The results of the AC&CS simulations were confirmed by the heavy vehicle impact test (TB51)

The TB51 test verifies that the barrier can safely contain a 13-tonne bus crashing into the barrier at an angle of 20° and speed of 70 km/h

Numerical simulation of the light vehicle (900 kg) crash test was also confirmed in tests

The TB11 test verified that the barrier could smoothly redirect a 900 kg car hitting the barrier at an angle of 20° and speed of 100 km/h

Next steps

Tecnovial has already introduced its new H2 safety barrier on the Chilean market. The combination of high strength steel, Magnelis®, and European certification is leading to widespread interest in the new barrier across Chile. Tecnovial also presented the new barrier with ArcelorMittal and AC&CS during the PROVIAL international road maintenance fair held in Chile during August 2016. The barrier was well received by government officials, construction companies, and other visitors to PROVIAL.

Related links

More info on Magnelis® in the ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products' document centre
Discover S420MC
Get to know our customer Tecnovial
CRM Group website

Copyright images and videos: Tecnovial

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