A Full-Scale, Single-Column Bridge Bent Tested by Shake-Table Excitation, PEER Report 2015-02


A landmark test of a reinforced concrete bridge column was conducted on the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation’s shake table at the University of California, San Diego. This was the first full-scale bridge column, designed to current US seismic design provisions, to be tested under dynamic conditions on a shake table. Caltrans seismic design guidelines were followed for the design and detailing of the 1.22-m- (4-ft-) diameter, 7.32-m- (24-ft-) tall column. The flexure-dominated specimen was subjected to ten significant ground motions and tested to impending collapse. The results can provide the basis for comparison with a small-scale shake table test to evaluate the reliability of small scale testing and significance of scale effects under dynamic conditions and also provide a unique dataset that can be used to validate nonlinear computational models. The column exhibited a ductile response with a well-formed plastic hinge within one column diameter from the base. Concrete spalling was observed after a simulated design-level earthquake. Longitudinal bar buckling, longitudinal bar fractures, and concrete core crushing were mechanisms of deteriorating strength and stiffness, but were induced in the later stages of testing after stable response to repeated demands well beyond the design-level event.

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Matthew J. Schoettler
Jose I. Restrepo
Gabriele Guerrini
David E. Duck
Francesco Carrea
Publication date: 
March 2, 2015
Publication type: 
Technical Report
Schoettler, M.J., Restrepo, J. I., Guerrini, G., Duck, D. E., Carrea, F. (2015). A Full-Scale, Single-Column Bridge Bent Tested by Shake-Table Excitation, PEER Report 2015-02. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA. https://peer.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/webpeer-2015-02-schoettler.pdf