Finite Element Modeling of ROPS in Static Testing and Rear Overturns

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Etherton, John R.;
  • Harris, James R.;
  • Means, Ken H.;
  • Mucino, Victor H.;
  • Snyder, Karl A.


Even with the technological advances of the last several decades, agricultural production remains one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Death due to tractor rollover is a prime contributor to this hazard. Standards for rollover protective structures (ROPS) performance and certification have been developed by groups such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASABE) to combat these problems. The current ROPS certification standard, SAE J2194, requires either a dynamic or static testing sequence or both. Although some ROPS manufacturers perform both the dynamic and static phases of SAE J2194 testing, it is possible for a ROPS to be certified for field operation using static testing alone. This research compared ROPS deformation response from a simulated SAE J2194 static loading sequence to ROPS deformation response as a result of a simulated rearward tractor rollover. Finite element analysis techniques for plastic deformation were used to simulate both the static and dynamic rear rollover scenarios. Stress results from the rear rollover model were compared to results from simulated static testing per SAE J2194. Maximum stress values from simulated rear rollovers exceeded maximum stress values recorded during simulated static testing for half of the elements comprising the uprights. In the worst case, the static model underpredicts dynamic model results by approximately 7%. In the best case, the static model overpredicts dynamic model results by approximately 32%. These results suggest the need for additional experimental work to characterize ROPS stress levels during staged overturns and during testing according to the SAE standard.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

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