A Bath engineer has developed a way of protecting safety devices that allows them to be reused instead of destroyed.
The idea could be used for car bumper mounts or shock absorbers
Dr Fayek Osman, from the University of Bath, discovered how devices such as train buffers could absorb enormous impact but still remain intact.
He said a piece of metal with a bend can be used in devices to absorb the energy of a crash. Further impact can return it to the original position.
Dr Osman is now seeking commercial backing for his idea.
Uses could include shock absorbers in artillery pieces, car bumper mounts, joints in bridges and cranes and shock absorbers in buildings in earthquake zones.
Dr Osman, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: "The overall concept is simple, but it depends on a thorough knowledge of how metals behave when they are forced around a corner.
"What makes devices based on this principle so effective is that they require no maintenance and can be used again and again - they are much cheaper to manufacture too."