Faculty Advisor

Ray, Malcolm H.


The purpose of this project was to design, construct and test a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) guardrail comparable in strength to current systems but using the memory capabilities of HDPE to facilitate recovery after a crash. A conceptual design was created based on the properties of the material, functional requirements of existing guardrails and the safety performance evaluation requirements of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350. A prototype HDPE guardrail was constructed and subjected to a variety of quasi-static and dynamic component tests performed in the Laboratorio sulla Sicurezza dei Trasporti (LAST), Milan, Italy. The quasi-static and dynamic test results were analyzed and refinements were made to the guardrail system design. The results were used to make recommendations on completing the development of an HDPE guardrail that will satisfy the full-scale testing requirements of NCHRP Report 350.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2007




Mechanical Engineering


Civil Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering