Seismic performance of bridge systems with conventional and innovative design

Principal investigator

  • M. Saiid Saiidi, University of Nevada, Reno


  • Ian Buckle, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Ahmed Elgamal, University of California, San Diego
  • Gregory Fenves, University of Texas, Austin
  • Amir Mirmiran, Florida International University
  • Filip Filippou, University of California, Berkeley


  • NSF Grant No. CMS-0420347
  • NSF Grant No. CMMI-0650935 for international cooperation component
  • NSF Grant No. CMS-0402490 for University of Nevada, Reno site operation and maintenance

Project summary

As one of the major projects in the first series of NEES research (NEESR) funded by the National Science Foundation, our study is addressing two important aspects of bridge seismic response, both focused on system performance: (1) behavior of modern concrete bridges reinforced with conventional materials, and (2) development and evaluation of bridges with innovative materials and details.

Project objectives

  • Conduct a comprehensive investigation of seismic performance of a series of large-scale four-span bridge systems including the soil-structure effects at the footings and the abutments.
  • Evaluate relative performance of components, bridge piers, and bridge systems and implications relative to current design assumptions and philosophies.
  • Incorporate innovative materials in bridge piers and determine system seismic performance to set the stage for the next generation of earthquake resistant bridges.
  • Use OpenSees for comprehensive evaluation of bridge models with conventional and innovative details. Calibrate analytical models at micro and macroscopic levels and study important system parameters.
  • Utilize the study and its products as resources to promote understanding of the importance of bridge earthquake engineering at all levels including the kindergarten to graduate school and the earthquake engineering profession.

Project components

  • Shake table testing of 4-span bridges (Saiidi)
  • Abutment testing (Elgamal)
  • Computer simulations (Fenves)
  • Innovative materials (Saiidi, Mirmiran)
  • Data Management (Pekcan)
  • Education and outreach (Itani)
  • Wireless sensors (Kiremidjian)
  • Design implications (Buckle)
  • International cooperation (Kawashima, Fischinger)


Our special gratitude goes to Dr. Steve McCabe, the NSF Program Director for the initial part of the project, and to Dr. Joy Pauschke, the current NSF Program Director, for their dedicated support and guidance.