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A detailed hazard and risk assessment of a given site and a correct selection of the appropriate rockfall protection system are key elements for safe and economically efficient rockfall protection. Several identical functional modules placed in sequence usually form a rockfall protection system. These modules comprise an interception structure (panel), a support structure, the connection components and the foundations. Experimental tests are fundamental for a better understanding of the mechanical behaviour of a protection barrier and usually, the response of the structures to block impact is investigated. Moreover, it is also of prime importance to examine how the single components behave upon impact. In particular, attention is focused on the strength under static or quasi static conditions. Energy dissipating devices are one of the numerous connection components and it is the one of interest in this study. The paper deals with two series of experimental tests carried out on energy dissipators, in order to compare the energy that can be dissipated in quasi-static conditions to the one that can be dissipated in the same kind of device subjected to impulsive forces. Indeed, when a block impacts on the defense structure the stresses induced on the interception structure and transferred to the other components of the barrier are dynamic by nature. This raises the issue of the relevance of quasi static tests. This paper presents the results of quasi-static laboratory tests and in situ dynamic tests performed on friction dissipators for high performance barriers. A discussion about the response of the dissipator under quasi static and dynamic conditions and about the relevance of each kind of test is provided.
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