Researchers at the University of Alicante have developed a guardrail barrier from seagrass residues in order to minimize the risk of injuries on roads.
The technology, patented by the research group in Materials Technology and Urban Planning, is useful for coating the supports of the safety barriers on the roads, which absorbs and dissipates much of the kinetic energy produced in a collision, avoiding lacerations and amputations in cases where the human body impacts against such traffic barriers.
The device consists of an impact-absorbing part made from a mixture of Mediterranean seagrass residue with hydraulic organic or inorganic binders.
This mixture, main researcher and lecturer José Miguel Saval Perez explains, "is made by previously kneading the components dry, residue and binder, later adding water and prolonging their kneading. Afterwards, the mixing is introduced into a mold where it is compacted. Immediately after, the demoulding is produced, allowing it to cure at room temperature".
"Additives such as commercial dyes compatible with the binder are also used so that the colour can be varied depending on the absorber signaling needs and on the environment through which the road goes through" José Miguel Saval adds.
Impact tests for 4116-joule energy absorption have been conducted, that is to say, it would absorb the impact of a body whose weight were 75 kg, which would hit against the barrier at an approximate speed of 38 Km/hour. Also, a load test under deformation has been performed, which suggests that the material absorbs about 40% of the load transmitted.
The option of using Mediterranean seagrass residue as the raw material to obtain the shock absorber provides an alternative use of such waste, while avoiding raising the economic and environmental costs of manufacturing safety barriers.
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