Drop weight impact tests are performed to examine the plastic response and failure of clamped rectangular cross-section tubes struck transversely by a hemispherical indenter. The laboratory results are compared with numerical simulations. The span lengths of the tube specimens are 125 and 250 mm, and they are impacted at the mid-span and the quarter-span. Moreover, the impact point along the width direction is located at the central position and displaced 10 mm from the centre, respectively. The results show that the impact location strongly influences the impact response of the tubes. The experimental results are presented in terms of the force-displacement responses and the failure modes, showing a good agreement with the simulations performed by the LS-DYNA finite element solver. The numerical results manage to describe the process of initiation and propagation of the material fracture and provide detailed information to analyse the large inelastic deformation and failure of tubular components subjected to impact loading. The deformation and failure characteristics of the rectangular tubes are well described on the basis of the relevant failure modes observed in beams, plates and circular tubes. Moreover, the influence of the impact location on the strength of tube specimens is elaborated.

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