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Seismic response of continuous span bridges through fiber-based finite element analysis

Chiara Casarotti1 and Rui Pinho2

University of Pavia, Structural Mechanics Dept., Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Abstract: It is widely recognized that nonlinear time-history analysis constitutes the most accurate way to simulate the response of structures subjected to strong levels of seismic excitation. This analytical method is based on sound underlying principles and has the capability to reproduce the intrinsic inelastic dynamic behavior of structures. Nonetheless, comparisons with experimental results from large-scale testing of structures are still needed, in order to ensure adequate levels of confidence in this numerical methodology. The fiber modelling approach employed in the current endeavor inherently accounts for geometric nonlinearities and material inelasticity, without a need for calibration of plastic hinges mechanisms, typical in concentrated plasticity models. The resulting combination of analysis accuracy and modelling simplicity, allows thus to overcome the perhaps not fully justifiable sense of complexity associated to nonlinear dynamic analysis. The fiber-based modelling approach is employed in the framework of a finite element program downloaded from the Internet for seismic response analysis of framed structures. The reliability and accuracy of the program are demonstrated by numerically reproducing pseudo-dynamic tests on a four span continuous deck concrete bridge. Modelling assumptions are discussed, together with their implications on numerical results of the nonlinear time-history analyses, which were found to be in good agreement with experimental results.

Keywords: bridges; seismic response; pseudo-dynamic testing; nonlinear dynamic analysis; fiber modelling

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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.