Seismic Performance of Pier-Wharf Connections, PEER Report 2002-07


Ports represent a large economic investment for society. When shipping is interrupted due to earthquake damage, the resulting unemployment and other social costs are significant. Wharfs are essential to shipping, and these structures are susceptible to earthquake damage. Because wharfs are supported on piles, the pile-wharf connection is an important part of the seismic resistance and structural integrity of the system. However, the seismic performance of pile-wharf connections is not well understood.

The seismic performance of pile-wharf connections is examined. The types of piles and pile connections used in past seismic design of wharf construction are reviewed. Past research related to these connections is noted. An experimental study of the seismic performance of moment-resisting connections used with prestressed concrete piles is described. Eight typical connections were tested, and the performance of these connections is evaluated. The test specimens included a range of typical connections and several recent connection innovations that were employed to reduce wharf construction costs. Both precast pile connections and connections with pile extensions are examined. The connections were tested under cyclic inelastic loading, and the effects of axial load are considered. The connections had relatively large inelastic rotational capacity but also had significant deterioration in resistance and stiffness. The consequences of this behavior are examined in typical wharf structures through inelastic analysis of the complete structural system.

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Charles W. Roeder
Robert Graff
Jennifer L. Soderstrom
Jung Han Yoo
Publication date: 
April 7, 2002
Publication type: 
Technical Report
Roeder, C.W., Graff, R., Soderstrom, J. L., & Yoo, J. H. (2002). Seismic Performance of Pier-Wharf Connections, PEER Report 2002-07. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA.