Analytical fragility curves for highway bridges in moderate seismic zones

2005 2005

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Historical seismic events such as the San Fernando earthquake of 1971 and the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 did much to highlight the vulnerabilities in many existing highway bridges. However, it was not until 1990 that this awareness extended to the moderate seismic regions such as the Central and Southeastern United States (CSUS). This relatively long neglect of seismic issues pertaining to bridges in these moderate seismic zones has resulted in a portfolio of existing bridges with seismic deficiencies which must be assessed and addressed.

An emerging decision tool, whose use is becoming ever increasingly popular in the assessment of this seismic risk, is that of seismic fragility curves. Fragility curves are conditional probability statements which give the probability of a bridge reaching or exceeding a particular damage level for an earthquake of a given intensity level. As much research has been devoted to the implementation of fragility curves in risk assessment packages, a great need has arisen for bridge fragility curves which are reliable, particularly for those in moderate seismic zones. The purpose of this study is to use analytical methods to generate fragility curves for nine bridge classes which are most common to the CSUS. This is accomplished by first considering the existing bridge inventory and assessing typical characteristics and details from which detailed 3-D analytical models are created. The bridges are subjected to a suite of synthetic ground motions which were developed explicitly for the region. Probabilistic seismic demand models (PSDM) are then generated using these analyses. From these PSD models, fragility curves are generated by considering specific levels of damage which may be of interest. The fragility curves show that the most vulnerable of all the bridge nine bridge classes considered are those utilizing steel girders. Concrete girder bridges appear to be the next most vulnerable followed by single span bridges of all types. Various sources of uncertainty are considered and tracked throughout this study, which allows for their direct implementation into existing seismic risk assessment packages.

Indexing (details)

Civil engineering
0543: Civil engineering
Identifier / keyword
Applied sciences; Bridges; Fragility curves; Highway; Seismic zones
Analytical fragility curves for highway bridges in moderate seismic zones
Nielson, Bryant G.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 66/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542434037, 0542434032
DesRoches, Reginald
Georgia Institute of Technology
University location
United States -- Georgia
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.