A reusable crash cylinder created by UMR Chancellor John F. Carney III is one of 100 university research projects cited in a new publication that showcases academic research that is contributing to a better world.
The crash impact attenuator, which Carney developed in the early 1990s, is one of 100 university research projects described in “The Better World Report, Part Two: Technology Transfer Works: 100 Innovations from Academic Research to Real-World Application.”
The report is published by the Better World Project, an undertaking of the non-profit Association of University Technology Managers. Released in April, the report "shows how technology transfer — the process of licensing and commercializing academic research — improves people’s lives, contributes to the economy and supports tomorrow’s discoveries,” says AUTM President John Fraser.
Carney developed his crash cushion while a professor of civil engineering at Vanderbilt University in the 1990s. The attenuator dissipates the kinetic energy of an errant vehicle upon impact by deforming a series of cylinders made of high molecular weight/high-density polyethylene (HMW/HDPE). These cylinders can absorb large amounts of kinetic energy and deform without fracturing. They then return to their original shape after impact. In effect, Carney invented a maintenance-free, reusable impact attenuation device.
Approved for use on U.S. highways in 1995 by the U.S. Transportation Department, the technology is licensed to Energy Absorption Systems, which markets the REACT (Reusable Energy Absorbing Crash Terminal) line of products worldwide.
An international expert on impact attenuation devices, Carney holds 10 patents in this area of research. Earlier in 2007, the Transportation Research Board, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, awarded Carney the 2007 Kenneth A. Stonex National Roadside Safety Award for his work.
Carney has been chancellor of UMR since September 2005.