Performance Modeling Strategies for Modern Reinforced Concrete Bridge Columns, PEER Report 2007-07


It is important to characterize the performance of bridges during earthquakes because they are integral components of transportation networks. Loss of bridge function can have severe
economic consequences, and consequences to life safety when bridges are critical links in lifelines to emergency facilities, which are particularly important after a disasters. Although damage to other elements can have economic and life-safety impacts, reinforced concrete columns are often the most vulnerable elements in a bridge, and column failure can have catastrophic consequences.

The objective of this project was to develop column-modeling strategies to accurately model column behavior under seismic loading, including global and local forces and deformations, as well as progression of damage. The models were calibrated using the observed cyclic
force-deformation responses and damage progression observations of 37 tests of spiral-reinforced columns representative of modern bridge construction. This research resulted in (1) a standardized discretization scheme for fiber cross sections; (2) a calibrated distributed-plasticity column modeling strategy including deformation components for bond-slip and shear deformations; (3) a calibrated lumped- plasticity column modeling strategy with recommendations for effective elastic-stiffness properties and plastic-hinge lengths; (4) the identification of inaccuracies of standard cyclic material models; (5) the implementation and evaluation of improved cyclic material models; (6) a series of dam- age equations to predict two flexural damage states with three engineering demand parameters; (7) the evaluation of the proposed modeling strategies when applied to complex structural models (two-column bent, and biaxial shake-table specimen).

This effort is an important step toward implementing performance-based earthquake
engineering for modern reinforced concrete bridges.

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Michael P. Berry
Marc O. Eberhard
Publication date: 
July 1, 2007
Publication type: 
Technical Report
Berry, M. P., & Eberhard, M. O. (2007). Performance Modeling Strategies for Modern Reinforced Concrete Bridge Columns, PEER Report 2007-07. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA.