Impact of multiple component deterioration and exposure conditions on seismic vulnerability of concrete bridges

  • Ghosh, Jayadipta (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University) ;
  • Padgett, Jamie E. (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University)
  • Received : 2011.02.10
  • Accepted : 2012.01.03
  • Published : 2012.09.25


Recent studies have highlighted the importance of accounting for aging and deterioration of bridges when estimating their seismic vulnerability. Effects of structural degradation of multiple bridge components, variations in bridge geometry, and comparison of different environmental exposure conditions have traditionally been ignored in the development of seismic fragility curves for aging concrete highway bridges. This study focuses on the degradation of multiple bridge components of a geometrically varying bridge class, as opposed to a single bridge sample, to arrive at time-dependent seismic bridge fragility curves. The effects of different exposure conditions are also explored to assess the impact of severity of the environment on bridge seismic vulnerability. The proposed methodology is demonstrated on a representative class of aging multi-span reinforced concrete girder bridges typical of the Central and Southeastern United States. The results reveal the importance of considering multiple deterioration mechanisms, including the significance of degrading elastomeric bearings along with the corroding reinforced concrete columns, in fragility modeling of aging bridge classes. Additionally, assessment of the relative severity of exposure to marine atmospheric, marine sea-splash and deicing salts, and shows 5%, 9% and 44% reduction, respectively, in the median value bridge fragility for the complete damage state relative to the as-built pristine structure.


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