Report No.: CCEER-05-2

Title: A Study of Fiber Reinforced Plastics for Seismic Bridge Restrainers

Authors: Rita Johnson, M. "Saiid" Saiidi and E. "Manos" Maragakis

Date: January 2005

Sponsoring Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP-IDEA) and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT)

Performing Organization:
Department of Civil Engineering/258
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557


Abstract: Easily installed and inspected fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) as an alternative to steel for restrainer construction to reduce bridge hinge movements during earthquakes was examined. Glass, carbon, and hybrid (glass/carbon) restrainers were constructed and dynamically tested in the large-scale structures laboratory. Work included:

  1. Tensile tests on FRP strips and on FRP/concrete bond versus loading rate
  2. FRP restrainer development, including dynamic testing
  3. Shake table data analysis and comparisons of FRP, steel, and SMA restrainer performance
  4. Development of a FRP restrainer design method. Findings confirm FRP restrainer potential for future implementation to structures

Results include:

  1. FRP strength is strain-rate insensitive
  2. FRP/concrete bond strength is a function of concrete shear strength and is strain rate sensitive
  3. Flexible restrainer construction and restrainer/concrete bond methods are demonstrated
  4. A simplified FRP restrainer design method, more realistic than AASHTO, and that considers bridge structure dynamic characteristics, is proposed