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Experimental research and finite element analysis of
bridge piers failed in flexure-shear modes

Sun Zhiguo1, Si Bingjun2, Wang Dongsheng1 and Guo Xun3

  1. Institute of Road and Bridge Engineering, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian 116026, China
  2. School of Civil & Hydraulic Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
  3. Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration, Harbin 150080, China

Abstract: In recent earthquakes, a large number of reinforced concrete (RC) bridges were severely damaged due to mixed flexure-shear failure modes of the bridge piers. An integrated experimental and finite element (FE) analysis study is described in this paper to study the seismic performance of the bridge piers that failed in flexure-shear modes. In the first part, a nonlinear cyclic loading test on six RC bridge piers with circular cross sections is carried out experimentally. The damage states, ductility and energy dissipation parameters, stiffness degradation and shear strength of the piers are studied and compared with each other. The experimental results suggest that all the piers exhibit stable flexural response at displacement ductilities up to four before exhibiting brittle shear failure. The ultimate performance of the piers is dominated by shear capacity due to significant shear cracking, and in some cases, rupturing of spiral bars. In the second part, modeling approaches describing the hysteretic behavior of the piers are investigated by using ANSYS software. A set of models with different parameters is selected and evaluated through comparison with experimental results. The influences of the shear retention coefficients between concrete cracks, the Bauschinger effect in longitudinal reinforcement, the bond-slip relationship between the longitudinal reinforcement and the concrete and the concrete failure surface on the simulated hysteretic curves are discussed. Then, a modified analysis model is presented and its accuracy is verified by comparing the simulated results with experimental ones. This research uses models available in commercial FE codes and is intended for researchers and engineers interested in using ANSYS software to predict the hysteretic behavior of reinforced concrete structures.

Keywords: RC bridge piers; flexure-shear failure; seismic behavior; finite element; ANSYS software

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Copyright© 2009 IEM. Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as described below, without written permission from the Publisher. Copying of articles is not permitted except for personal and internal use, to the extent permitted by national copyright law, or under the terms of a license issued by the National Reproduction Rights Organization of China.