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Characterization of Nonlinear Abutment Stiffnesses for Seismic Design and Retrofit
Author(s) and Affiliation(s):
Raj V. Siddharthan and Mahmoud El-Gamal University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
Principal Investigator:
Raj V. Siddharthan
National Science Foundation and Nevada Department of Transportation
Research Start Date:
March 1994
Expected Completion Date:
August 1996
Research Objectives:
Seismic response analyses of highway bridges are often necessary in the seismic safety evaluations of existing bridge structures and new bridge designs. Such studies require realistic characterization of bridge deck-abutment interaction. The current procedure models the deck-abutment interaction using translational springs (longitudinal, lateral, and vertical) located at the deck-abutment support. Past studies that dealt with abutment stiffness have been based on many assumptions that were not quite realistic and, therefore, suffer from many limitations. This study accounts for the following factors: nonlinear soil behavior, earthquake induced strains (i.e., free-field strains), the presence of active and passive conditions and the corresponding differences in soil behavior, the influence of wing walls, and the physical abutment dimensions.
Expected Products or Deliverables:
This study will provide a relatively simple approach to estimate the nonlinear longitudinal, vertical, and transverse spring stiffnesses of seat-type abutments on spread footings. Readily usable design curves will be developed as a function of the abutment dimensions, design excitation level at the site, and foundation and backfill soil properties. Routinely used soil properties are adequate to use the procedure proposed in the study.

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