Maccaferri’s latest rockfall barrier system took a step closer to being ready for launch when the system passed a 6,500kJ test live in front of potential customers at the Fonzaso test centre operated by Consorzio Trivento Rocciatori in Italy in October.
The prototype P650 fencing system was put through its paces with a European standard ETAG 27 compliant test involving the dropping of a 17.6t block of concrete onto the wire mesh fence from a height of 38m.
The capacity of the fence was further demonstrated with the dropping of a second 2.2t concrete block to prove that the system can cope with more than one rock fall in the same location without the risk of failure.
According to Maccaferri rockfall specialist Giorgio Giacchetti, the barrier will not dynamically change after the first rockfall and will become stiffer with each successive rockfall. “It is important for us to test each barrier system to breaking point to understand the energy that is needed to take it to this point and also to know where the weak points are,” said Giacchetti. “Most barriers fail due to the friction between the metal wire and the base plates.”
Testing of the P650 barrier proved that it will meet the highest specification defined under the ETAG 27 testing regime but Maccaferri will be carrying out analysis of the information collected by load cells fitted in the supports to measure shear and compression forces during the test, as well as the deflection of the fence during each test, before making the system available.