Bridge seismic retrofit measures considering subduction zone earthquakes.
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Bridge seismic retrofit measures considering subduction zone earthquakes.

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      Over the years, earthquakes have exposed the vulnerability of reinforced concrete structures under

      seismic loads. The recent occurrence of highly devastating earthquakes near instrumented regions, e.g. 2010 Maule, Chile

      and 2011 Tohoku, Japan, has demonstrated the catastrophic impact of such natural force upon reinforced concrete

      structures. Research was conducted to investigate the effect of subduction zone earthquakes on structural damage. The

      study suggests that large magnitude ground motions of long duration have the potential of significantly increasing the

      number of inelastic excursions and consequently incur more extensive structural damage as compared to ground motions

      with similar elastic spectral demands but of shorter duration. This increase in demand plays a crucial role in the Pacific

      Northwest where a mega subduction zone earthquake is impending.

      Typical reinforced concrete bridge bents constructed in the 1950 to mid-1970 in the State of Oregon were designed and

      built with minimum seismic considerations. This resulted in inadequate detailing within plastic hinge zones, leaving

      numerous RC bents highly susceptible to damage following an earthquake. In this study, the cyclic performance of an as-built RC square column and a reinforced concrete bridge bent retrofitted using buckling restrained braces (BRBs) was

      experimentally evaluated using quasi-static cyclic loading protocols aiming to reflect subduction zone earthquake

      demands up to displacement ductility. The buckling restrained braces were designed as replaceable elements in order to

      take the earthquake-induced energy and dissipate it through nonlinear hysteretic behavior. Two BRB designs were

      considered in the study in an effort to assess the influence of BRB stiffness on the overall structural performance. The

      results of these large-scale experiments successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of utilizing buckling restrained braces

      for achieving high displacement ductility of the retrofitted structure, while also controlling the damage of the existing

      vulnerable reinforced concrete bent up to the design performance levels. The potential of improving the overall seismic

      behavior and the design performance levels with BRBs offers structural design professionals a viable method for

      performance driven retrofit of reinforced concrete bents.

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