An engineered Tool

for the soft-body impact on glazed surface

Modern standards and codes of design practice require the evaluation of the response of glazed surfaces with respect to impulsive dynamic actions in order to avoid brittle failure.

The soft-body impact test allows the reproduction of the effect of the accidental impacts of humans. This is a free-boundary value problem, since the imprint of the impinging mass changes with the resultant of the contact force.

Firstly, the dynamic problems are analyzed with a simplified approach based upon an equivalent and non-linear 2-DOF system. The maximum stress in the panel, possibly taking into account the geometric non-linearities, can be directly obtained via energetic considerations, with reasonable assumption. Successively, in order to analyze complex problems in real structures, and engineered FEM tool has been developed, which uses non-linear unilateral beam elements that can be implemented in most commercial software for structural analysis.

The prediction of the aforementioned methods is compared with experiments and results obtained with specific software for structural glass, within general an excellent agreement. The limits of applicability of the simplified approach are investigated. The developed FEM tool is very accurate and represents an improvement with respect to dedicated software allowing to consider multiple impacts, damping, and high structural complexity.


Massimo Maffeis
Alberto Consolaro
Maffeis Engineering | Italy

Gianmaria D’Ambrosio
Department of Engineering and Architecture
University of Parma | Italy

Gianni Royer-Carfagni
Maffeis Engineering | Italy

Department of Engineering and Architecture
University of Parma | Italy

Construction Technologies Institute
Italian National Research Council | Italy

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