Past Projects
Past Project Snapshots

Chronological List

Past Project Snapshots


The projects in the snapshots below were conducted using LS-DYNA non-linear, 3-D, dynamic, explicit finite element code and they were sponsored by: the National Science Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Florida Department of Transportation, Army Research Lab, and others.

Project title: “Structural modifications of existing BCT guardrail terminals”.
Sponsor: Florida Department of Transportation.

Breakaway Cable Terminals (BCT) were implemented over 50 years ago at the time when a fleet of passenger vehicle was totally different. With no advanced method, BCT was designed primarily based on engineering intuition and was intensively tested using full-scale crash tests and old vehicle. Although highway engineers nowadays are using much more efficient end treatments of highway guardrail treatments, BCTs are still in existence. They are not appropriate and dangerous, especially for smaller vehicles. It is estimated that we have currently over 250,000 installations of BCTs in the nation. This project resulted in several practical recommendations regarding retrofits of BCTs and their effect on improved crashworthiness and safety of the new design.

“Vehicle Trajectories Resulting from Traversing FDOT Street Curbs”
Federal Highway Administration / Florida Department of Transportation

Several public domain FE models of motor vehicles were used in this project to predict expected trajectories of those vehicle in a city environment, when their driver accidentally loses control over their vehicles. This research helped to identify needs for additional clear zones, safer placement of bus stops, removal of trees whenever deemed necessary, and installations of guardrails to improve pedestrian safety.

“Progressive Collapse Methodology Development”
Defense Threat Reduction Agency

After September 11 attacks on the Word Trade Center there is a growing interest in understanding how structures behave under explosive blast loading. While we can not protect all buildings from possible terrorist attacks, it is important to make some selected, critical structures to be more resistant to blast loading. CIAL participates in the consortium of six universities working for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) on developing analytical methods used for analyzing and possibly preventing the progressive collapse of multistory buildings due to blast explosions. Effect of a blast explosion on a small, two story building, obtained from LS-DYNA analysis at CIAL is shown in figure to the right.

“Crashworthiness and Safety of Public Transportation Buses”
Florida Department of Transportation

Paratransit buses are often used by elderly, students, and/or disable passengers. Florida Department of Transportation buys over 200 of them every year. While required strength of school buses is regulated by FMVSS standards, no standards exist for paratransit buses. This study was commissioned by the FDOT to assess crashworthiness and safety of Ford Eldorado Aerotech transit buses. The computational mechanics analysis required to develop the FE model of the bus, which consists of over 70,000 finite elements. Analysis revealed weaker connections and helped to make recommendations regarding their improvement.

“Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of Existing Florida DOT Bridges”
Florida Department of Transportation

Maintenance Office of the Florida Department of Transportation receives over 90,000 requests for overweight permits every year. Decisions allowing overweight vehicle to pass specified FDOT bridges must be made very quickly without compromising safety and/or damaging the bridges. The FE model of the bridge was developed with over ½ million of finite elements complemented by a model of a typical truck used by FDOT for bridge testing. It was found out that quality of bridge deck surface and bridge approach are the leading factors in significant reduction of dynamic loading especially at higher truck speed.

“Energy Absorbing Armor Mounting for Light-Weight Army Vehicles”
US Army Research Laboratory

The main goal of this project was to assess the total amount of the projectile kinetic energy, which could be transferred to an armor of the light army vehicles (LAV). Several FE models of modern projectiles and several models of the armor were developed during this project. It was found that classical passive armor can only dissipate marginal amount of the kinetic energy. FE models developed consisted of almost 1 million elements with advanced material models accounting for element erosion.

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Chronological List Of Past CIAL Projects
  • “Best Practice Guidelines for Construction of Paratransit Buses”. August 16, 2009 – August 15, 2010. Transit Office, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Dynamic Loading of Bridges due to Approach Depression", January 1, 2007 - December 31, 2008, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Crashworthiness Assessment of Paratransit Buses", June 15, 2006 - August 31, 2009. Transit Office, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Rollover Testing of Paratransit Buses". May 1, 2006 - August 30, 2007. Federal Transit Administration.
  • "Passenger Safety in Transit Buses". June 7, 2005 - August 30, 2006. Federal Transit Administration.
  • "Localized Structural Damage Modeling". Student Research Associate Program, September 22, 2005 - September 21, 2008. Subcontract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency through the Pennsylvania State University.
  • "Progressive Collapse Methodology Development", September 1, 2004 - August 30, 2005, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Technology Development Project #DTRA0006, Sub-contract from Pennsylvania State University.
  • "DTRA Consortium Partnership Process Implementation" May 20, 2003 - May 19, 2006. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
  • "Structural Integrity and Safety of Public Transit Buses", January 1, 2005 - December 31, 2005, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Transportation Safety Center at the Florida A&M University", September 1, 2004 - August 31, 2007, Federal Transit Administration.
  • "Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of Existing Florida DOT Bridges", December 15, 2002 - March 31, 2005, Transit Office, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Energy Absorbing Armor Mounting for Light-Weight Army Vehicles", January 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004, US Army Research Laboratory.
  • "Emerging Imaging and GPS/GIS Technologies Applications for Civil Infrastructure Assessment and Management", May 2002 - April 2004, FSU Research Foundation.
  • "Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Needs Fellowship Program", August 2001 - August 2004, U.S. Department of Education.
  • "Evolutionary Algorithms for Decision Making and Design Optimization in Civil and Environmental Engineering", May 2001 - April 2003, FSU Research Foundation.
  • "Evaluation of Traffic Crash Fatality Causes and Effects", September 2001- August 2003, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Structural Condition Assessment of Existing Structures", April 1, 2000 - March 31, 2002, FSU Research Foundation.
  • "Vehicle Trajectories Resulting from Traversing FDOT Street Curbs", September 1, 1999 - August 31, 2001, FHWA/FDOT.
  • "Crashworthiness and Safety of Public Transportation Buses", April 1, 1999 - September 30, 2002, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Acquisition of High-Performance Computing Environment by the Institute for Transportation Technologies", January 22, 1999 to September 30, 2000, USDOT/Silicon Graphics.
  • "Investigation of Bridge Fenders for Ship Impact", September 1, 1997 - April 30, 2000, Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Blast Response of Structural Components", June 28, 1999 to December 28, 1999, US Army Corps of Engineers.
  • "Computational Mechanics of Reinforced Concrete Walls due to Explosions", August 10, 1998 to April 30, 1999, US Army Corps of Engineers.
  • "Structural modifications of existing BCT guardrail terminals", January 1, 1997 - September 30, 1999. Florida Department of Transportation. Contract WPI# 0510652.
  • "Analysis of dynamic stress fields in pavements and transportation infrastructure", January 1, 1996 - December 31, 1998. National Science Foundation, contract No. HRD-9550687.
  • "Conceptual analysis of an aesthetic bridge barrier", February 28, 1996 - April 22, 1997. Florida Department of Transportation.
  • "Review and critique of current finite element vehicle models used by FHWA", May 15, 1995 - July 7, 1995. Design Concept Research Division, FHWA, Washington D.C.
  • "Finite element models of roadside safety structures", January 1, 1995 - April 30, 1997. Federal Highway Administration.
  • "Protocol for developing DYNA3D finite element codes for vehicle impacts", May 30 - July 22, 1994. Design Concept Research Division, FHWA, Washington D.C.
  • "Deicer tests using a walk-in cold chamber". October - November 1993, Federal Highway Administration.
  • "Ice forces on a cone shaped structure". December 92 - January 1993, ARCO Alaska.
  • "Finite element and closed form analysis". July 93 - August 93. Pavements Division, FHWA, Washington D.C.
  • "Symbolic matrix operating system PRISM for R&D". August - October 1992. National Highway Institute, McLean, VA.
  • "Stress analysis for the automatic distraction system," . May August 1990. Autogenesis, a Biomedical Corporation, Anchorage, Alaska.
  • "Elastic buckling of tapered thin walled beams," May August 1990. Faculty Development Grant, University of Alaska Anchorage.
  • "Instability of thin walled bars with random imperfections," July August 1987 Faculty Development Grant, University of Alaska Anchorage.