The interns have arrived in Texas and are working diligently on their research. A welcome event, brown bag luncheons, and touring the area are keeping them all busy as they establish relationships with their mentors and with each other.
The interns presented research posters at an event at the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building Lobby at Texas A&M University.
(Overhead photo of poster session, Meg Muhall with poster, and Zach, Ryan, and Robert Wunderlich viewing poster)
(Cathryn Cecil and Mahmoud El-Sherif with posters)
Ryan Stone – Public Reception to Variable Speed Limits
Jessica Buhlig – Safety Implications of Narrowed Lane Widths in Texas
Zachary Gala – Feasibility of Creating an Integrated Crash and Injury Data System
TTI’s Roadside Safety folks were testing a “short-radius” guardrail that is intended for situations in which the guardrail for a particular section of roadway has to be “split” to allow for a driveway somewhere along its length. They crashed a small sedan into the rail at an angle (it was a precise angle but the angle was not heard over the noise) at a speed of 62 mph. The initial test results did what they hoped – the rail stopped the car and bent quite a bit without breaking.
They explained that next they’ll analyze the data from accelerometers in and on the vehicle, damages to the crash dummy inside the vehicle, and a whole lot of other factors to determine if the rail did the rest of its job: to stop the car within a certain distance limit (i.e. soon enough that it wouldn’t go off of a bridge), while controlling deceleration enough to protect the vehicle occupants. The whole test took less than 10 seconds! The preparation and the subsequent analysis will, of course, take a lot longer. The students also heard a little about the computer modeling that is done to fine-tune the crash rail materials, shape, etc. before an actual crash test is ever performed.
Last week, the students watched this video of past TTI crash tests, with narration/explanation from Dusty Arrington, one of TTI’s structural engineers.
TTI and TAMU researchers have been sharing their experiences with the ATLAS students through a series of noon-time “brown bag lunch” presentations. The presentation topics were:
July 9 – Dr. Kay Fitzpatrick, TTI, Research on pedestrian crossing signals
July 10 – Melisa Finley, TTI, Research on work zone signals and wrong way driving
July 14 – -Dr. Tom Ferris, TAMU Industrial and Systems Engineering. Research on mental workload in driving and other complex tasks – HfnCS Research Powerpoint
July 15 – -Dr. Karen Dixon, TTI, Research projects in roadway design and safety
July 21 – Dr. Maury Dennis, TTI, Alcohol and drug studies in transportation research – CADES Powerpoint
July 23 – Crash Test, Riverside (Dusty Arrington)
July 25 – Dr. Bill Stockton, TTI, Overview of TTI – Powerpoint
The students, their faculty and research advisors, ATLAS program staff, and their families and friends were invited to a pot-luck barbecue at the home of Robert and Fran Wunderlich on Saturday, July 12. The party started in the late afternoon and continued into the evening. Besides eating and more eating, everyone enjoyed meeting the Wunderlich dogs, cats, horses, and donkey; cooling off in the pool; investigating the two ponds; and sharing lots of conversation and laughter. Sorry…they forgot to take pictures since they were having so much fun!