Those Orange Road Cylinders

You know them- they are used to block off construction areas and have the fun reflector strips.
In almost any action movie with a chase scene, cars go rushing through them in a crash of water. I have always thought the water was to keep the things from falling over or blowing away or whatever.
But I still wonder- how much water are they filled with?

Are different ones filled with different things?

Would the contents of these things change the crashing-through ability of them?

Can you crash through them that easily, anyway?

Water and sand filled cyliders are used to absorb energy for things like diverging barrier walls where the only other alternatives is to use a ramp which can flip cars over or let them run head on into the end of the wall.

Depends on where the cylinders are and what their purpose is. Around here, we have platoons of cylinders in front of bridge abutments, dividing walls, etc. to attempt to keep people from spitting themselves on them in their badly drivien cars. These cylinders are filled to the brim. The idea is that the water will absorb most of the impact force, and keep the car intact.

If the cones/cylinders are used for temporary diversion of traffic, they have only enough water in them to keep them from blowing away

I had a car under tow break loose back in the 70’s. We smashed up about 6 of those. At the time they were called “Fitch Modules” and filled with sand. I know that because that’s how they were listed on the bill I got from the Illinois Tollway Authority! $245 each, plus sand.

The orange ones with stripes don’t typically have water/sand filling them – they’re usually just weighted with a rubber-and-steel weight at the base, if that. They usually look like this.

Fitch modules (I never would have been able to find them on Google otherwise!) are also called “crashworthy end terminals”, and are typically yellow or bright blue. They look more like actual barrels, and are usually arranged in a line like this.

This chart even shows how many barrels you need to decelerate a car of a given mass at a given speed. This PDF even outlines how much mass should be placed in one, and how to build one yourself, if you really wanted to.

The orange ones around here at construction sites are acually open on the bottom so they are stackable. A side of an old tire fits around them to hold them down.
construction barrel
The water/sand filled ones are to stop you before you hit something very hard.barrier barrels
The old style guardrails that terminated at the ground tended to do this when you hit them end-on. Or sometimes this . The new thinking is softer barriers slow you more gently and don’t turn your insides into jelly. NASCAR is in the process of installing soft walls anywhere cars have a tendency to meet walls.

On preview…alot of what Jurph said.

There was a ‘Buzzwords’ in Newsweek in the 1990s about trucker lingo and they said that truckers called those barrels Schneider’s Eggs because the Schneider Truck Co. paints all their trucks and trailers orange.

A week or two ago, a NASCAR Nextel Cup race car spun while attempting to enter the pits. The wall between track and pit had a group of water filled crash barrels at the end, for just such an occasion. The barrels were inside a rubbery-looking fence. When the car hit them, water gushed upward out of one or more of the barrels. The crash rearranged the barrels, but they stayed inside the fence, and the car bounced off.