Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Leonard D. Albano, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Roberto Pietroforte, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Malcolm H. Ray, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Chuck A. Plaxico, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Tahar El-Korchi, Department Head




Roadside safety hardware has traditionally been approved on the basis of full-scale crash tests. In recent years, nonlinear dynamic Finite Element (FE) programs like LS-DYNA, PAM-Crash or ABAQUS Explicit have been widely used in evaluating new or improved design of roadside hardware. Although a powerful tool, numerical models must be properly verified and validated in order to provide reliable results. Typically, the verification and validation (V&V) process involves a visual comparison of two curves and is based on a purely subjective judgment. This research investigated the use of comparison metrics, which are mathematical measures that quantify the level of agreement between two curves, for comparing simulation and experimental outcomes in an objective manner. A computer program was developed in Matlab® to automatically evaluate most of the comparison metrics available in literature. The software can be used to preprocess and compare either single or multiple channels, guiding the user through friendly graphical interfaces. Acceptance criteria suitable to represent the typical scatter of experimental tests in roadside safety were determined by comparing ten essentially identical full-scale vehicle crash tests. The robustness and reliability of the implemented method were tested by comparing the qualitative score of the computed metrics for a set of velocity waveforms with the corresponding subjective judgment of experts. Moreover, the implemented method was applied to two real validation cases involving a numerical model in roadside safety and a model in biomechanics respectively. Eventually, the program showed to be an effective tool to be used for assessing the similarities and differences between two curves and, hence, for assisting engineers and analysts in performing verification and validation activities objectively.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Finite Element, LS-DYNA, Full-Scale Crash Tests, Verification, Validation