Repair of Seismically Damaged RC Bridge Bent with Ductile Steel Bracing

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Steel and Composite Structures

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The inclusion of a ductile steel bracing as means of repairing an earthquake-damaged bridge bent is evaluated and experimentally assessed for the purposes of restoring the damaged bent's strength and stiffness and further improving the energy dissipation capacity. The study is focused on substandard reinforced concrete multi-column bridge bents constructed in the 1950 to mid-1970 in the United States. These types of bents have numerous deficiencies making them susceptible to seismic damage. Large-scale experiments were used on a two-column reinforced concrete bent to impose considerable damage of the bent through increasing amplitude cyclic deformations. The damaged bent was then repaired by installing a ductile fuse steel brace in the form of a buckling-restrained brace in a diagonal configuration between the columns and using post-tensioned rods to strengthen the cap beam. The brace was secured to the bent using steel gusset plate brackets and post-installed adhesive anchors. The repaired bent was then subjected to increasing amplitude cyclic deformations to reassess the bent performance. A subassemblage test of a nominally identical steel brace was also conducted in an effort to quantify and isolate the ductile fuse behavior. The experimental data from these large-scale experiments were analyzed in terms of the hysteretic response, observed damage, internal member loads, as well as the overall stiffness and energy dissipation characteristics. The results of this study demonstrated the effectiveness of utilizing ductile steel bracing for restoring the bent and preventing further damage to the columns and cap beams while also improving the stiffness and energy dissipation characteristics.



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