How Much Force Can Security Bollards Withstand?

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Security bollards are essential components of modern urban design and infrastructure. Their primary purpose is to protect people, buildings, and assets from vehicle-based attacks and accidents.

Some bollards primarily serve as a traffic control tool, while others are designed for hostile vehicle mitigation purposes. These heavy-duty bollards are built from strong, durable materials, and feature a detailed crash test rating.

Understanding bollard strength is crucial for selecting the right vehicle security product for your needs. In this guide, we’ll explore how much force bollards can withstand, and the various factors that come into play.

What Are Security Bollards?

Security bollards are a type of vehicle barrier designed to control vehicular access to restricted areas. They act as both a visual deterrent and a physical obstruction, providing protection against security breaches and collisions.

Not all bollards are created equally: the level of protection offered can vary. Basic parking and driveway bollards help to direct drivers and prevent accidental collisions, but may not hold up against high-speed crashes. However, security bollards are designed to endure much stronger forces.

HVM (hostile vehicle mitigation) bollards, also called high-security bollards or anti-ram bollards, can withstand the most impact. They are typically used where there is an increased risk of deliberate vehicle-borne attacks. This may include locations such as busy city centres, airports, events venues, military bases and government facilities.

Factors Affecting Bollard Strength

There are many factors affecting the force resistance capabilities of bollard security barriers. The strength of a bollard may vary according to its design, construction, installation, and how well it is maintained.

Bollard Design

Different bollards may offer different levels of impact resistance depending on their design and function. The four main types of security bollards are:

  • Fixed bollards, which are permanently installed
  • Removable bollards, which can be removed and reinstalled as needed
  • Manual telescopic bollards, which can be physically raised and lowered when occasional access is required
  • Automatic or electric security bollards, which are also retractable, but are operated via a fob, keypad or remote control

Fixed and retractable security bollards can typically withstand more impact than removable bollards. This is because removable bollards are designed to be easier to manoeuvre, and may not be installed as deeply in the ground.

Bollard Materials

Bollards can be constructed from a variety of materials, each with distinct properties affecting its impact resistance.

Steel bollards offer the highest level of strength and durability. Most HVM bollards are made primarily from stainless steel. Concrete bollards provide a cost-effective alternative with good impact resistance, but they may not offer the same level of protection.

Polymer bollards, often made from polyurethane or other plastics, do not offer much protection. They typically cannot withstand high-impact crashes and therefore mostly serve as a visual aid for traffic control.

Bollard Dimensions

The size of a bollard can significantly influence its strength and force resistance. Generally, wider bollards are more resistant to force due to their increased mass and structural integrity. However, this must be balanced with considerations for pedestrian access, visibility, and aesthetics.

Bollard Installation

Proper installation is essential for ensuring the effectiveness of bollard security barriers. Bollards must be installed at the correct depth and anchored securely to the ground to provide maximum force resistance. Different anchoring methods, such as concrete encasement, base plate mounting, or ground sleeves, can be used depending on the specific application and bollard type. The British Standard PAS 69 provides best practice guidelines for installing HVM bollards.

Bollard Impact Resistance Ratings

It’s crucial to ensure that your chosen security bollards are strong enough for the required application. The datasheet provided by the manufacturer or supplier should state the bollard’s impact resistance, which is measured in joules (J). Typically, two bollard ratings will be given:

  • “Impact resistance without deformation”, meaning the bollard can withstand this force without damage to its structure or action mechanisms
  • “Breakout resistance”, meaning that this level of impact will cause permanent damage, though the vehicle will be successfully stopped

High-security HVM bollards should have an impact resistance of at least 700,000 J.

Crash Test Ratings

To ensure that security bollards meet the required standards for impact resistance, crash rated bollards undergo rigorous testing and certification processes.

Tests such as PAS 68 and IWA 14-1 evaluate bollard ratings based on factors like impact speed, angle, and penetration distance. These tests involve simulating vehicle collisions with bollards to assess their effectiveness in preventing intrusion and damage.

If you require a bollard system that can withstand extreme forces, always check that it has been assessed according to a recognised standard. Read more about understanding bollard crash test ratings here.

Contact Macs Bollards Today

We are Macs Bollards: Manchester-based suppliers of high-quality security bollards for private, public, commercial and industrial use. We pride ourselves on our dedication to customer service and technical excellence.

We provide a range of fixed, removable, semi-automatic and automatic security bollards, including high-security HVM bollards crash rated according to PAS 68 and IWA 14-1. We also offer a competitive bollard repair and maintenance service to ensure your bollards offer the maximum possible impact resistance and longevity.

Contact Macs Bollards today to speak to our helpful team. We will work with you to determine the most suitable security bollards for your needs and budget. Fill in our enquiry form, email or call us on 0161 320 6463.

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