Columns at the ground floor and parking garages that could be hit by a car pose a significant risk to the structural stability of the building superstructures. Generally, these columns are not built to sustain the lateral impact force generated by car–column collision. In this study, the performance of axially loaded retrofitted reinforced concrete (RC) columns against car impact is evaluated using finite element (FE) simulation. The FE model of the RC column with axial load was validated with experimental results. For the car‐crushing simulations, two SUV car models with a mass of about 2250 kg, which had been experimentally validated, were used to simulate the car–column collision. The results of the FE analysis revealed that once the impact speed exceeds 30 km/h, the horizontal impact force has a significant effect on the column joint at the foundation. The impact force increases linearly as the impact velocity of the car increases up to 20 km/h. When car impact velocities are more than 20 km/h, the generated impact force increases in power to the car‐crashing velocity. Both types of cars have almost the same effect on the generation of impact force and the lateral displacement of the column. It is found that the generated impact forces are higher than the recommended design values of Eurocode 1. To protect the column from car impact damage, two types of column‐strengthening systems were investigated. One form of strengthening system involves retrofitting the lower half of the column with an aramid fiber‐reinforced polymer (AFRP) warp, while the other involves putting a reinforced concrete jacket of up to 1.3 m in the height of the column. Based on the comparative study, design recommendations are suggested to protect the RC column from accidental car‐crashing damage.
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