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Earthquakes and Structures
  Volume 9, Number 1, July 2015, pages 195-219

Establishing optimal gap size for precast beam bridges with a buffer-gap-elastomeric bearings system
Mousa M.N. Farag, Sameh S.F. Mehanny and Mourad M. Bakhoum

Abstract     [Full Text]
    A partial (hybrid) seismic isolation scheme for precast girder bridges in the form of a “buffergap- elastomeric bearings” system has been endorsed in the literature as an efficient seismic design system. However, no guides exist to detail an optimal gap size for different configurations. A numerical study is established herein for different scenarios according to Euro code seismic requirements in order to develop guidelines for the selection of optimal buffer-gap arrangements for various design cases. Various schemes are hence designed for ductile and limited ductility behavior of the bridge piers for different seismic demand levels. Seven real ground records are selected to perform incremental dynamic analysis of the bridges up to failure. Bridges with typical short and high piers are studied; and different values of initial gaps at piers are also investigated varying from a zero gap (i.e., fully locked) condition up to an initial gap at piers that is three quarters the gap left at abutments. Among the main conclusions is that the as-built initial gaps at piers (and especially large gap sizes that are ≥1/2 as-built gaps at abutments) do not practically reduce the seismic design demand and do not affect the reserve capacity of the bridge against failure for bridges featuring long piers, especially when these bridges are designed a priori for ductile behavior. To the contrary, the “buffergap- elastomeric bearings” system is more effective for the bridge schemes with short piers having a large difference between the stiffness of the bearings and that of their supporting (much stiffer) squat piers, particularly for designs with limited ductility. Such effectiveness is even amplified for the case of larger initial as-built gap sizes at piers.
Key Words
    buffer; gap; elastomeric bearings; seismic response; EC8
Mousa M.N. Farag, Sameh S.F. Mehanny and Mourad M. Bakhoum: Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Gamaa Road, Giza, Egypt

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