Methods of Testing Different Types of Bollards

DSC635 Shallow Foundation Bollard | Delta Scientific

There are two different types of bollards. Originally, a bollard was a post installed into the shore alongside a wharf to allow sailors to tie up boats and ships. The word is still used in this respect, but because ships of today tend to be much larger and made of heavier materials than the ships of the past, the bollards have to be much sturdier and stronger. Testing bollards to make sure they can stand up to the stress is important. 

Delta Scientific bollards resemble those used in seafaring for purposes of docking, which is how they got their name. However, they serve a very different purpose. Our bollards are installed inland, typically around urban buildings and pathways, to prevent motor vehicles from entering designated pedestrian zones, whether accidentally or on purpose. These bollards have to be just as strong and sturdy as maritime bollards, and for the same reason: To prevent a vehicle from going where it is not supposed to go. However, there are different techniques involved in testing each. 

U.S. Navy Designs New Bollard Test

In the past, maritime bollards were tested using tugboats that were connected to the bollards by ropes and then pulled on them. Though the best technique available at the time, it left a lot to be desired. It did not recreate the uplift that bollards might experience due to the angle of vertical mooring lines. Besides that, it was dangerous. 

The U.S. Navy—which maintains thousands of bollards worldwide, not just in American ports—recently patented a new device with the ability to test bollards in situ, a method which is not only safer but a more authentic assessment of their strength. A winch applies force to the bollard by pulling on a cable attached to it while a rectangular frame of steel tubing holds the device in place. This method is preferred for determining whether bollards are performing to their full capacity. 

Delta Scientific Uses Crash-Testing To Determine Bollards’ Strength

While our bollards may bear some resemblance to those used by the U.S. Navy, they serve a different purpose. Our bollards are intended to stop a vehicle traveling at top speeds from crashing into a building or pedestrian area. This can cause extensive property damage, serious injuries, and even death. Therefore, we perform crash tests to determine how effective they are at protecting buildings and pedestrians from speeding vehicles. 

We give Delta Scientific products K-ratings according to the older Department of Defense scale as well as M-ratings based on the scale developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials, a civilian organization. The criteria are the same for each. The test involves slamming the bollards with a fully-loaded, medium-duty truck weighing up to 15,000 pounds. The speed at which the bollards are effective at stopping this vehicle determines its M-rating and K-rating. The highest M-rating is an M50, meaning the bollards are effective at stopping a medium-duty truck going 50 miles an hour. It is equivalent to a K12 rating on the Department of Defense scale.

Delta Scientific offers several K12- and M50-rated bollards, which provide the highest level of protection