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Picture of a truck disintegrating as it crashes into the KarabloK barrier which is designed to stop truck attacks

Vehicle crash barrier test standards made simple

Are you confused by ASTM F 2656, IWA 14, PAS 68 and the different vehicle crash barrier test standards? This article sets out explain these so potential users can understand what standards a product has been tested to.

The increased use of trucks as terrorist weapons has led to a global proliferation in hostile vehicle mitigation systems. But different countries and different companies use different standards to describe their products. These include the American K system, ASTM F 2656, IWA 14, PAS 68, PAS 69 and CWA 16221.

KarabloK, whose parent company is based in the UK, is tested and certified to IWA 14 standards. This system was set up to overcome any confusion. It is recognised all over the world and by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Most tests performed to assess and grade a vehicle crash barrier use the same principle: a truck of a set weight and travelling at a set speed is crashed into the barrier. The resilience of the barrier is then assessed by measuring the penetration ie how much it is pushed in.

KarabloK has been tested using the IWA 14 standards and this table shows how – based on that test – we would expect it to perform if tested to other standards.

Test Vehicle weight Vehicle speed Expression of standard
American K system 6.8 tonnes (15,000lb) 80kmph (50mph) K12
ASTM F 2656 6.8 tonnes (15,000lb) 80kmph (50mph) M50 P1
IWA 14 7.2 tonnes (15,900lb) 80kmph (50mph) IWA 14-1 V/7200[N3C]/80/90:1.1
PAS 68 7.5 tonnes (16,500lb) 80kmph (50mph) PAS68:2010 V/7500[N3C]/80/90.0/1.1/0
PAS 69 provides guidance on the use of PAS 68 certified barriers
CWA 16221 7.5 tonnes (16,500lb) 80kmph (50mph)

However, it is important to note that barriers tested and accredited with one standard can not be said to have achieved other “equivalent” or similar vehicle crash barrier test standards. Yet manufacturers of other systems sometimes suggest their products have achieved a whole host of standards when they have not been accredited with them.

Here are some brief explanations of the main vehicle crash test barrier standards:

IWA 14 vehicle crash barrier test standards

International Workshop Agreement 14 (IWA 14) – is increasingly used around the world. This system was developed by government agencies, military bodies and private companies from countries including USA, UK, Germany, Norway, Oman, Singapore and Syria.

The workshop contributors also used existing standards – ASTM F 2656, CWA 16221, PAS 68 and PAS 69 – to reach their new set of standards. These would be easily recognisable and meaningful all over the world. The resulting IWA 14 came into effect in November 2013.

There are two sections; IWA 14-1 describes the performance requirements of the barrier while IWA 14-2 offers guidance for its use.

The KarabloK barrier was independently tested by MIRA in the UK. The main test used a 7,200kg truck travelling at 80kmph. The impact, at 90o, resulted in the barrier being pushed back up to 1.1m. This is expressed as “IWA 14-1 V/7200[N3C]/80/90:1.1”. It was also tested at 64kmph resulting in a 0.4m penetration or “IWA 14-1 V/7200[N3C]/64/90:0.4”.

Further information on the scope of this standards and the implementation of the tests can be found here on the ISO website https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:iwa:14:-1:ed-1:v2:en.

American K12

This standard was developed in 1985 by the US Department of State. The test vehicle weighed 6,800kg (15,000lb). Impacts were assessed at different speeds (eg 50kmph, 65kmph and 80kmph) by measuring penetration of the vehicle into the barrier.

The K rating the barrier received depended on the distance the truck penetrated the barrier and the speed at which it was tested. The best was K12 which indicated the test vehicle travelling at 80kmph had gone no more than 1m into the barrier. This test system was eventually replaced by ASTM F 2656. However, some older products still quote the K system.

ASTM F 2656

This was developed by ASTM International – formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials – to replace the K system. It uses a 6,800kg (15 000lb) truck at either 50 or 80kmph (30 or 50mph).

Measurements of the barrier penetration, however, were slightly different and resulted in a ratings system of: P1 for up to 1.00m (3.3ft) penetration, P2 for 1.01-7.00m (3.31-23.0ft), P3 for 7.01-30.00m (23.1-98.0ft) and P4 for 30.01m (98ft) or greater.

The speed is expressed too, as M50 or M30. So, for example, a barrier which allowed a truck travelling at 30mph to penetrate 1.5m would be rated as “M30 P2”.

PAS 68 and PAS 69

These were developed by the BSI (British Standards Institution) and are still widely used in the UK. The PAS or “Publicly Available Specification” is the specification against which perimeter security equipment is tested.

Like the IWA 14 standard, PAS 68 defines the vehicle type, penetration, dispersion of debris and records the angle of vehicle’s approach. So, for example, a fixed bollard hit at a 90o angle by a 3000kg van travelling at 48kmph and resulting in a vehicle penetration of 1.1m with significant debris scattered up to 8.1m away will be expressed as “Fixed Bollard V 3000 / 48 / 90 : 1.1 / 8.1”.

BSi PAS 69 simply provides guidance on the product’s use including installation.

CWA 16221

This is a standard produced by the European CEN (the European Committee for Standardization) which is recognised across 34 European countries. It combines the detail from BSI PAS 68 and PAS 69 to provide guidance on assessment of vehicle security barrier performance and on their installation and use.

For more information on KarabloK test standards, call director Gareth Neale on +44 (0) 7545 455 005.