Hopper Engineering was asked to perform a structural analysis and risk assessment of a car crash stunt for a film production company. The stunt involved reversing a car at speed into a concrete support column in a 4-story parking garage. The production company required that the concrete support column will not be damaged during the stunt.
Our engineering team conducted a visual inspection and structural analysis of the existing concrete support column. An explicit dynamic finite element analysis was performed with a 2003 Chevrolet Impala as a representative vehicle. Our analysis showed that the stresses in the concrete column were approaching code allowable limits with the originally intended 25 mph crash speed. It was recommended to reduce the vehicle speed to 20 mph and the stunt was performed without damage to the column.