Report No.: CCEER-09-3

Title: Design, Construction, and Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis of Three Bridge Bents Used in a Bridge System Test

Authors: Hillis, D., and Saiidi, M.,

Date: August 2009

Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation

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


During major earthquakes that have occurred in the United States and around the world a common issue that has been observed in bridges and viaducts is the severe localized damage often accompanied by significant residual column displacements. The use of innovative design and materials in individual bridge columns has been shown to improve seismic performance by reducing the residual displacement. This report presents information about the design, construction and nonlinear dynamic analysis of three bridge bents used in a bridge system test. Each individual bent contained one of three different bent details: the use of Shape Memory Alloy and Engineered Cementitious Composites, Unbonded Post Tensioned Columns, and Isolator Built in Columns. Analytical evaluation of individual columns showed significant reduction in the residual displacement. Extensive pre-test analytical modeling was conducted using OpenSEES prior to finalizing the column height and bridge model con figuration to achieve a comparable lateral drift ratio. When working with innovative design and materials many differences and logistic issues associated with construction were identified. However, the construction of the bents used in the bridge model was successful. These bents were then used in a quarter scale four span bridge tested at the University of Nevada, Reno.