Extraordinary developments in virtual crash testing research have been achieved during the past decade. Advancements in hardware and software technology along with improvements in computation mechanics and increased number of full-scale crash tests contributed positively to the development of more realistic finite element models. Use of complex finite element codes based on computational mechanics principles allowed the virtual reproduction of real world problems. Regarding roadside safety, the design phase was, until now, based on the use of simplified analysis, unable to describe accurately the complexity of vehicle impacts against safety hardware. Modeling details, such as geometry, constitutive laws of the materials, rigid, kinematic and other links between bodies, definition and characterization of contact surfaces are necessary to build an accurate finite element model for an impact problem. This set of information is needed for each different body involved in the event; making the development of a complete model very much demanding. Once a part (subset) of the entire model has been accurately validated against real experimental data, it can be used again and again in other analogous models. In this paper, finite element model of a unique Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) was developed and partially validated using actual crash test data. Development of this particular vehicle model was important since this vehicle is extensively used in Europe to test the structural adequacy of high containment level (H4a) safety barriers according to EN 1317 standard. The HGV model studied reproduces a FIAT-IVECO F180 truck, a vehicle with 4 axles and a mass of 30,000 kg when fully loaded. The model consisted of 12,337 elements and 11,470 nodes and was built for and is ready to use with LS-DYNA finite element code from Livermore Software Technology Corporation. Results of the validation study suggest that the developed HGV model shows promise and can be used in further studies with confidence. Improvements such as, steering mechanism in front axes and suspension system is currently underway to make model more realistic.

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