Application of bridge specific fragility analysis in the seismic design process of bridges in california

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Dukes, Jazalyn Denise
DesRoches, Reginald
Padgett, Jamie E.
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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) seismic bridge design process for an Ordinary Bridge described in the Seismic Design Criteria (SDC) directs the design engineer to meet minimum requirements resulting in the design of a bridge that should remain standing in the event of a Design Seismic Hazard. A bridge can be designed to sustain significant damage; however it should avoid the collapse limit state, where the bridge is unable to resist loads due to self-weight. Seismic hazards, in the form of a design spectrum or ground motion time histories, are used to determine the demands of the bridge components and bridge system. These demands are compared to the capacity of the components to ensure that the bridge meets key performance criteria. The SDC also specifies design detailing of various components, including abutments, foundations, hinge seats and bent caps. The expectation of following the guidelines set forth by the SDC during the design process is that the resulting bridge design will avoid collapse under anticipated seismic loads. While the code provisions provide different analyses to follow and component detailing to adhere to in order to ensure a proper bridge design, the SDC does not provide a way to quantitatively determine whether the bridge design has met the requirement of no-collapse. The objectives of this research are to introduce probabilistic fragility analysis into the Caltrans design process and address the gap of information in the current design process, namely the determination of whether the bridge design meets the performance criteria of no-collapse at the design hazard level. The motivation for this project is to improve the designer's understanding of the probabilistic performance of their bridge design as a function of important design details. To accomplish these goals, a new bridge fragility method is presented as well as a design support tool that provides design engineers with instant access to fragility information during the design process. These products were developed for one specific bridge type that is common in California, the two-span concrete box girder bridge. The end product, the design support tool, is a bridge-specific fragility generator that provides probabilistic performance information on the bridge design. With this tool, a designer can check the bridge design, after going through the SDC design process, to determine the performance of the bridge and its components at any hazard level. The design support tool can provide the user with the probability of failure or collapse for the specific bridge design, which will give insight to the user about whether the bridge design has achieved the performance objective set out in the SDC. The designer would also be able to determine the effect of a change in various design details on the performance and therefore make more informed design decisions.
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