First Advisor

Peter Dusicka

Date of Publication

Spring 6-4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Reinforced concrete construction -- Earthquake effects -- Testing, Concrete bridges -- Earthquake effects -- Testing, Earthquake hazard analysis, Bridges -- Retrofitting, Earthquakes



Physical Description

1 online resource (xxiv, 234 pages)


A large magnitude, long duration subduction earthquake is impending in the Pacific Northwest, which lies near the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ). Great subduction zone earthquakes are the largest earthquakes in the world and are the sole source zones that can produce earthquakes greater than M8.5. Additionally, the increased duration of a CSZ earthquake may result in more structural damage than expected. Given such seismic hazard, the assessment of reinforced concrete substructures has become crucial in order to prioritize the bridges that may need to be retrofitted and to maintain the highway network operable after a major seismic event. Recent long duration subduction earthquakes occurred in Maule, Chile (Mw 8.8, 2010) and Tohoku, Japan (Mw 9.0, 2011) are a reminder of the importance of studying the effect of subduction ground motions on structural performance. For this purpose, the seismic performance of substandard circular reinforced concrete bridge columns was experimentally evaluated using shake table tests by comparing the column response from crustal and subduction ground motions. Three continuous reinforced columns and three lap-spliced columns were tested using records from 1989 Loma Prieta, 2010 Maule and 2011 Tohoku. The results of the large-scale experiments and numerical studies demonstrated that the increased duration of subduction ground motions affects the displacement capacity and can influence the failure mode of bridge columns. Furthermore, more damage was recorded under the subduction ground motions as compared to similar maximum deformations under the crustal ground motion. The larger number of plastic strain cycles imposed by subduction ground motions influence occurrence of reinforcement bar buckling at lower displacement compared to crustal ground motions. Moreover, based on the experimental and numerical results, subduction zone ground motion effects are considered to have a significant effect on the performance of bridge columns. Therefore, it is recommended to consider the effects of subduction zone earthquakes in the performance assessment of substandard bridges, or when choosing ground motions for nonlinear time-history analysis, especially in regions prone to subduction zone mega earthquakes. Finally, for substandard bridges not yet retrofitted or upgraded seismically, the following performance limit recommendation is proposed: for the damage state of collapse, which is related to the ODOT's Life Safety performance level, the maximum strain in the longitudinal reinforcement should be reduced from 0.09 (in./in.) to a value of 0.032 (in./in.) for locations where subduction zone earthquakes are expected, to take into consideration the occurrence of bar buckling.


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