Seismic Vulnerability of the Highway System

Task D2-1: Intelligent Bearings - State of-the-Art Review
Subject Area: Earthquake Protective Systems

Principal Investigator(s) and Institution(s)
George C. Lee and Michael Constantinou, University at Buffalo

The objective of this task is to review and assess advanced technologies that may be applicable to the development of intelligent bridge bearings for highway bridge applications, and develop a plan for moving these technologies into practice in future years under this project.

This task will draw on and extend the results of an NSF/MCEER-sponsored workshop on advanced technology review for application to the protection of critical facilities against earthquake ground motions which was held in the summer of 1998. The focus in this task will be directed at various high performance materials and/or smart materials, as well as bearing system configurations and designs (e.g., shape memory alloys, low-power ER fluids, composite materials, fail-safe systems by addition of semi-active functions, etc.).

It is important to note that many advanced technologies have been developed for space and defense applications and that these may not be applicable to protect civil engineering infrastructure systems against strong earthquake ground motions. Bridges for example have unique characteristics such as low frequency range, large mass, small deflection requirements, and requirements for low cost, simple maintenance, and long-term durability.

The work will entail the collection, review, and synthesis of a large body of theoretical, analytical, and experimental research, in concert with the identification of bridge performance parameters that can be adequately modified by the application of these advanced technologies. An analytical and experimental research plan which will be conducted in Years 2 and 3 will be developed at the end of this task.

Anticipated Start Date and Duration
January 1, 1999 - 12 months