Researchers in China have developed a mathematical model that could help engineers design a flexible vehicle-arrest system for stopping cars involved in criminal activity or terrorism, such as suspect car bombers attempting break through a check point, without wrecking the car or killing the occupants.
Writing in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Vehicle Design, Pak Kin Wong and colleagues in the Department of Electromechanical Engineering at the University of Macau, in Taipa, Macao, explain how common vehicle-arrest systems used by law enforcement, the military and in anti-terrorism activities, usually cause serious damage to the vehicle and maim or kill the occupants. A more positive system for bringing a car chase to a halt or stopping a car-bomber in their tracks is needed if perpetrators, witnesses and evidence are to be protected.
A flexible system would increase the stopping distance of a vehicle involved in criminal or terrorist activity and allow its kinetic energy to be dissipated without the complete destruction of the vehicle as otherwise occurs with solid, immovable barriers and equipment currently used. The team's mathematical model of vehicle arrest with different flexible materials and designs bears up to theoretical and experimental scrutiny and offers engineers a new set of variables to embed in their design program in the development of new, effect vehicle arrest systems. Moreover, the system could allow the design of an "intelligent" vehicle-arrest system for roadblocks and checkpoints that could respond differently depending on vehicle speed and type and allow for greater control in bringing a vehicle to a stop.
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