Energy absorption in multipoint anchors a designed approach
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Energy Absorption in Multipoint Anchors - a designed approach. Bob L. Zimering, PhD Joel R. Hayes, MSE MCSO-MR/CAMRA. Agenda Objectives Experiment 1 - Baseline loads Experiment 2 - Side vs middle leg failure Experiment 3 - Screamer type, orientation, belay Design of Experiments

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Energy Absorption in Multipoint Anchors - a designed approach

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Energy absorption in multipoint anchors a designed approach

Energy Absorption in MultipointAnchors - a designed approach

Bob L. Zimering, PhDJoel R. Hayes, MSEMCSO-MR/CAMRA

  • Agenda

  • Objectives

  • Experiment 1 - Baseline loads

  • Experiment 2 - Side vs middle leg failure

  • Experiment 3 - Screamer type, orientation, belay Design of Experiments

  • Belay load, leg load, slip results

  • Noise and significance of results

  • Comparison with past work

  • Lessons learned & next steps

  • Appendix A : project budget

  • Appendix B : photos

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Energy absorption in multipoint anchors a designed approach

Hypothesis

  • Using a “screamer” will prevent failure when one point of a 3 point belay anchor fails because of impulse force when catching a 600 lb load.

  • Experimental Factors:

    • Different belay devices

    • Load sharing vs. load distributing

    • Middle vs. side leg of anchor fails

    • Different types of screamers

    • Screamer orientation (parallel or series)

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Objectives

Objectives

  • Establish peak failure load of low-stretch 7/16 inch rope for three belay devices without screamers : Petzl I’D, Traverse Rescue 540, and tandem Prussiks.

  • Determine the peak load on the belay device and remaining legs of a multi-point anchor when one leg fails

  • Evaluate utility of screamers, used either in series with or parallel to the legs

  • Evaluate relative utility of two brands of screamer : Charlet Moser and Yates.

  • Create recommendations for optimal use of screamers in rescue scenarios.

Failure Criteria

  • The load is dropped.

  • The sheath is damaged enough to show the core.

  • The core is damaged enough to create an easily palpable soft or hard spot.

  • More than 24 inches (60 cm) of rope slips through the belaydevice.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment 1

1850

Experiment 1

  • Experiment set 1 baselined the failure loads of the belay devices used.

  • The device is set in series with the load and a digitaldynamometer

  • Results :

    • The tandem prusiks withstood the highest amount of energy before failure.

    • The ID generated higher load than the 540 rescue device but stopped the fall with less slip

ANCHOR

Dyno

Belay

device

  • Results at failure are tabulated below

load

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 2

1850

1850

Experiment set 2

  • Experiment set 2 established the relative forces in legs of a 3 point load equalizing anchor system after failure of one leg

  • The experiment compared middle leg to side leg failure

  • Due to budget, only one load cell was available. The belay device was attached to the dynamometer

ANCHORS

2mm

cord

Load

cell

SS quicklink

Dyno

  • Results :

    • Side leg failure created 2200 lbf force, compared to 1345 with center leg failure

    • Maximum force generated in the (remaining) side leg 750 lbf

Prusiks

load

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3

Experiment set 3

  • Experiment set 3 culminated represented a combination of 1 & 2 with the addition of “screamer” energy absorption devices.

  • Only side leg failure of a 3 point load distributing anchor was studied

  • Screamers were put alternately in series or parallel

  • Two different screamers were used : Charlet Moser and Yates

  • Each combination series/parallel and CM/Yates were permutated with the 3 belay devices (Prusiks, ID, 540)

  • One load cell was used to measure load on the side leg, and the digigal dynomometer was attached to the belay device.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 con t

1850

1850

1850

1850

Experiment set 3, con’t

ANCHORS

2mm

cord

Screamer

Load

cell

Load

cell

SS quicklink

SS quicklink

Dyno

Dyno

Series

Parallel

Belay

device

Belay

device

load

load

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 results practical

Experiment set 3 results - practical

  • Range of load measured by dyno were 680 - 1935 lbs - all configurations with screamer kept peak load below failure.

  • Load measured in leg by load cell typically about 30% of dyno load - about 40 % of energy is absorbed in friction of the load distributing system.

  • Prussiks have high propensity to cause minor damage to rope, and generate highest loads - load distribution by prussik body melts rope but doesn’t break it.

  • Slip with 540 device and screamer is much greater than slip with either of other devices - 540 load limiting feature makes screamers irrelevant.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment 3 results belay load main effects

Experiment 3 results - belay load main effects

  • Belay device greatest driver for dyno force

  • Force with Prussiks ~ 25% higher than with other devices

  • Negligible effect of screamer type, orientation on max load at belay device

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 results belay load interactions

Experiment set 3 results - belay load interactions

  • Interaction between orientation and screamer effectiveness - Yates does slightly better job limiting load in series orientation than CM screamer

  • Nonlinear interactions between belay device and screamer type. Yates seems to limit load better in most cases, but physics cannot be explained without more experiments.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 results side leg load

Experiment set 3 results - side leg load

  • Load in leg strongly dependant on screamer orientation

  • Force with Prussiks almost twice that with other devices

  • No discernable influence of screamer type on load in leg

  • Nonlinear response not significant

  • Results corroborate Dynamometer results

  • Load in leg strongly dependant on screamer orientation

  • Force with Prussiks almost twice that with other devices

  • No discernable influence of screamer type on load in leg

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 results slip

Experiment set 3 results - slip

  • Slip is noisiest response in experiment

  • Slip with 540 device in conjunction with screamer is order of magnitude greater than others

  • Slip not dependent on screamer type, or orientation

  • Slip not strongly dependent on type, slightly on series. When using 540 device, prefer parallel to minimize slip

  • Series/parallel vs screamer type reverses slip magnitude. Use Yts in parallel or CM in series

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Experiment set 3 results statistics

Experiment set 3 results - statistics

  • Dynamometer (belay device) load

  • We infer that statistical significance of belay & belay interactions is ~80%

  • Practical significance - the greater load generated by prussiks is more likely to damage the rope than are the two mechanical belay devices.

  • “P” value is a measure of probibility that effect is “real” - like a measure of “signal to noise” ratio. (We would accept a 80% risk in assuming that these terms are not significant in effecting the dynomometer load)

  • Load cell (anchor leg) load

  • Screamer orientation effect is only ~60% statistically certain.

  • Anchor leg load is driver for catastrophic failure - orientation is potential driver

  • Rope Slip

  • Rope slip is a potential danger with wrong combination of gear

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Using a screamer either in parallel or in series keeps peak load on the belay below failure when one leg of a 3 point anchor fails in catching a 600lb working load using either tandem prussiks or a Petzl I’D, under conditions which would have generated just enough energy to fail the system without the screamer.

  • Both Charlet Moser Nitro 3 and Yates Zipper screamers work equally well for this rescue application.

  • We recommend to NOT use screamers in conjunction with the Traverse Rescue 540 belay device for this application. The combined effects of load limitation and increased rope slip that both the 540 device and the screamer impart on the system is not advantageous from a load limiting perspective, and can significantly contribute to unacceptable total rope slip.

  • We recommend that if screamers are to be used as a load limiting device in a multipoint anchor system, that they be used in the parallel orientation. Parallel orientation eliminates system extension due to screamer extension, and using a parallel screamer orientation is about 70% certain to lower peak load relative to series orientation with prussiks (estimate difference 30 percent), and about 60% certain to lower load in the legs (estimate difference 70 percent).

  • Friction in the webbing reduces the loads at the anchor by approximately 50%

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Literature review future work

Literature review & future work

  • [Lion 1996] Load/slip distance with Petzl I’D 6-8 kN 40 cm slip. Consistent with our findings

  • Screamer devices are known to produce consistent results when new, but are fabricated with materials that degrade quickly with age and abrasion. Concern is waranted if these devices are used systematically as part of a team’s anchor gear

  • Load distributing (equalizing) arrangement of anchor is known to create greater loads than a load sharing arrangement. This was confirmed by experiment 1. Loads in multipoint load sharing anchors are far less dependent on actual anchor geometry since the induced slack is minimal compared with a load distributing anchor. This is consistent with NFPA recommendations.

  • Experimentation has shown that prussiks are less likely to fail under a shock load than are mechanical devices such as ascenders [2001]. Our experiments showed the reverse trend, with good correlation (80%). This merits further research.

  • Additional statistical analysis to conduct : Regression, Power calculation, and Multivariate Analysis may shed light on (statistical) significance of the results

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following companies for donating or discounting their products for this study:

  • Traverse Rescue

  • Petz’l

  • PMI

  • Yates

  • Charlet Moser

We would like to thank the following people for their helpful discussions:

  • Werner Hueber

  • Kirk Mauthner

We would like to thank Neal Jeffers (CAMRA) for the use of his tower, and David Bremson (CAMRA) for his assistance in testing.

Finally, we would like to thank the MRA for providing the grant under which this research was conducted.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Appendix a budget

Appendix A - Budget

Costs (USD)

540 Rescue Belay………………….225x1=225

Petzl I'D……………………………150x1=150

400 ft 7/16 low-stretch rope………..0.66x400=264

100 ft 8mm low-stretch rope……….0.55x100=55

Charlet Moser Nitro 3……………...28x6=168

Yates Zipper Screamer……………..21.50x6=129

1” Tubular Webbing……………….100x.40=40

Dynamometer Rental………………95x4=380

Miscellaneous Costs (quick links, paperwork, etc.)100

Total:……………………………………………………………….1411

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Appendix b photos

Appendix B - Photos

  • Screamer deployed after experiment 1

  • Prussiks after experiment 2, (partially welded to rope)

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


Energy absorption in multipoint anchors a designed approach

Background

  • During technical rescue operations, standard practice is to use a belay line as a back up for safety. When necessary, the belay might be anchored to 3points which share (or distribute) the load, none being absolutely “bomb-proof”.

  • If a 600 lb load (victim + 2 rescuers) shockloads the belay, there is a potential for one of the 3 anchor points to fail - creating an instantaneous redistribution of much greater energy to the remaining legs due to slack in the anchor webbing.

  • Energy absorption devices (“screamers”) designed for recreational climbing, in conjunction with choice of belay device may mitigate the risk of a catastrophic failure of the entire anchor due to failure of one point.

  • Mitigating risk of anchor failure must be balanced both against risk of rope failure and unacceptable rope slip.

  • This study seeks to quantify the relationship between these requirements against the parameters and choices available to the technical rescue team.

MRA Research -

the Role of Energy Absorption


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