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This document describes a procedure to determine the characteristisc of damaged zones at the base of hollow bridge piers

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DOI 10.1007/s10518-010-9189-3

analysis

Received: 18 February 2009 / Accepted: 2 May 2010 / Published online: 22 May 2010

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Abstract The present paper proposes equivalent stiffness and energy dissipation proper-

ties of reinforced concrete hollow bridge piers to be used in the context of response spectrum

performance based assessment and design. The work is carried out by performing parametric

numerical analysis using a 2D fibre model calibrated against experimental results and by

varying the longitudinal steel reinforcement ratio, height over width ratio, normalised axial

force, level of confinement and concrete class of a rectangular hollow section reinforced with

Tempcore B500C steel. The results of the analysis are given in the form of charts and closed

form expressions for the yield curvature and moment, ultimate ductility, post yielding stiff-

ness ratio and energy dissipated of the section, and are translated to the member level through

the plastic hinge length approach. Likewise, the parameters of a Takeda model derived from

the parametric analysis are given for use in nonlinear time history analysis.

Keywords Bridge pier hollow section · Performance based design · Equivalent stiffness ·

Equivalent damping · Plastic hinge length · Takeda model

Abbreviations

DBD Displacement based design

PsD Pseudo-dynamic

RC Reinforced concrete

F. F. Taucer (B)

European Laboratory for Structural Assessment, European Commission – Joint Research Centre,

Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy

e-mail: fabio.taucer@jrc.ec.europa.eu

URL: http://elsa.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

C. Paulotto

ACCIONA, Madrid, Spain

G. Ayala

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., México

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1398 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

JRC Joint Research Centre

MP Medium Pier

TP Tall Pier

1 Introduction

Current seismic evaluation and design tendencies for reinforced concrete bridges, in which

performances under design conditions need to be estimated, require, even in the most simpli-

fied methods, an accurate description of the stiffness and energy dissipation characteristics

of the piers forming the substructure. This description involves not only the use of sound

analytical techniques, but also their calibration against existing results from experimental

tests on large scale specimens.

Considering that the most widely used approach for the Displacement Based Design

(DBD) of bridges is based on the use of secant stiffness and equivalent viscous damping

of the piers, both evaluated at maximum pier displacement, in this report the stiffness and

energy dissipation characteristics, necessary to estimate these parameters, are obtained for

reinforced concrete hollow rectangular bridge piers. The work involves the use of a continu-

ous nonlinear model calibrated against experimental results to derive the moment-curvature

behaviour of the section, translated into force-displacement properties at the level of the pier

by means of the plastic hinge approach.

The analysis starts from the identification of the parameters that play a major role in deter-

mining the behaviour of a pier section and their ranges of variation determined on the basis

of current practice and on the prescriptions contained in the Eurocodes.

The moment-curvature envelope of a generic section is determined through nonlinear

finite element parametric analysis under monotonically increasing curvatures, approximated

with bilinear curves defined by the yield curvature and moment, ultimate curvature and post-

yielding stiffness ratio of the section, all summarised in a series of charts and closed form

expressions. The cyclic behaviour of the section is reproduced through nonlinear analysis

under increasing cyclic loading and expressed in terms of a dimensionless parameter related

to the energy dissipated per unit length in a cycle.

The properties derived at the section level are used to compute the force-displacement

envelope and the energy dissipation characteristics of the pier for a given level of ductility

of the section; the calculations are performed with expressions derived from experimental

results for the computation of the plastic hinge length.

The equivalent properties of the bridge, namely, equivalent stiffness and equivalent damp-

ing at maximum displacement, are calculated based on the concept of a substitute linear

structure as originally defined by Gulkan and Sozen in 1967.

Lastly, a Takeda model with parameters derived from the parametric analysis is proposed

for assessment purposes by means of nonlinear time history analysis using the plastic hinge

approach.

In spite of the wide use in the past decades of reinforced concrete (RC) hollow sections

for the construction of large bridge piers in seismic prone areas, there is only a limited

number of experimental tests describing the cyclic load-deformation and energy dissipation

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1399

large scale bridge piers subjected to earthquake loading has been carried out by Pinto et al.

(1996) at the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA) of the Joint Research

Centre (JRC) at Ispra, Italy; these tests were selected for calibrating the numerical models

used in the present research. The tests carried out at the JRC were performed on large-scale

models of reinforced concrete rectangular hollow sections, considering the combined effect

of axial loads and cyclic earthquake loading on piers designed according to EN 1998-1 (2004)

and EN 1998-2 (2004), and scaled to 1:2.5.

The models of the JRC were detailed to represent as best as possible the behaviour of the

prototypes, following a scaling criteria similar to that adopted by Stone and Cheok (1989),

whom after conducting a series of cyclic loading tests on full-scale and reduced scale circular

columns found that scale effects are not relevant when reinforcement details, including bar

diameter and vertical hoop spacing, are precisely scaled; Hoshikuma et al. (2001) arrived

to the same conclusion after performing tests on a full-scale square column and a 1/4 scale

replica model.

The experimental tests performed in Pinto et al. (1996) consisted in testing single piers

subjected to cyclic loading, as well as testing of a complete bridge structure by means of the

pseudo-dynamic (PsD) sub-structured test method, which integrates physical testing of the

pier models for which the load-displacement behaviour is to be determined, with numerical

models of those parts of the bridge for which the force-displacement response is known or

φ5 @50

F

330

136

φ5 @50 φ5 @50

346 346

136

136

14 φ14

φ5 @50

136

160

SLICES #

492

φ5 @50

8 0.24

6 φ12

5.60 7 0.24

492

6 0.24

LVDTs

LVDTs

136 5 0.24

492

4 0.24

1600

1280

20 φ8

136 3 0.24

φ5 @50

2 0.12

1 0.14

1.60

160

0.80 0.16

160 480 160

800

(a) (b)

Fig. 1 Medium pier of bridge B232 tested in Pinto et al. (1996) a Reinforcement layout of the pier section;

b Geometric characteristics of the pier and instrumentation

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1400 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

Table 1 Mechanical properties of steel reinforcement1 (average values) for the medium pier of bridge B232

tested in Pinto et al. (1996)

diameter ( mm) diameter ( mm)

φ8 8.2 503.4 563.0 12.3

φ 12 11.9 558.2 646.8 12.8

φ 14 13.8 477.2 577.7 13.0

1 Tempcore B500B steel reinforcement

2 Nominal bar diameter of the stirrups

Cubic compressive Tensile Initial tangent

of concrete (average values) for

strength ( MPa) strength ( MPa) modulus (GPa)

the medium pier of bridge B232

tested in Pinto et al. (1996)

35.4 3.1 29.4

remains elastic (i.e., the deck). Several bridge configurations composed of three piers were

studied, according to their degree of irregularity in terms of the heights and capacities of the

piers. The results obtained from the medium pier of the bridge B232 configuration were used

for the calibration of the numerical model. The geometric characteristics and the reinforcing

steel lay-out of the pier model are presented in Fig. 1a; the mechanical characteristics of steel

and concrete are given in Tables 1 and 2, respectively, and were determined from tests on

a set of specimens from the construction of the model. The footing of the pier was rigidly

attached to the strong floor of the laboratory by means of post-tensioned steel bars passing

through the floor; a stiff steel cap was connected with bolts and epoxy resin to the top of

the pier for horizontal load application and for imposing the vertical loads (normalised axial

force equal to 0.1) needed to simulate the weight of the bridge superstructure.

The evaluation of the moment-curvature behaviour along the pier used in the calibration

of the numerical model of the section was carried out on the basis of data given by a set

of displacements transducers (LVDT’s) placed along two external opposite faces of the pier

model (Fig. 1b). The corresponding bending moment was calculated at mid-height of the

slice defined by the transducers, using the recorded values of the horizontal force and axial

load and the relative horizontal deflection to account for P- effects.

3 Numerical model

The parametric analysis described in the next section was carried out with a 2D fibre model

implemented in the finite element program CAST3M (CEA 2007) and calibrated against the

experimental results described in the previous section. Four different material models: rein-

forcement steel in the longitudinal direction, unconfined concrete, flange confined concrete

and web confined concrete, were used at the fibre level to build the section model.

The monotonic behaviour of the steel fibres is represented by a three-stage stress-strain

curve: linear elastic followed by a yielding plateau and a hardening zone modelled with a

fourth degree polynomial. The model for cyclic loading follows the monotonic curve until

the strain falls below a pre-established level after unloading from a postyielding position,

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1401

relationship for confined concrete

in compression

from this point on, the stress-strain curve follows the Menegotto-Pinto model (1973); the

rebar buckling is modelled after Monti and Nuti (1992). The ultimate tensile strain of steel

was reduced by 30%, recognizing that under cyclic loading the ultimate tensile strain is in

general smaller than that obtained from monotonic testing (Priestley et al. 1996). The onset

of strain hardening was assumed at a strain equal to 0.02.

The monotonic compressive behaviour of the concrete fibres was modelled considering a

two branches law of Hognestad type, as shown in Fig. 2. The first branch, a parabolic func-

tion, defines the ascending part of the curve and goes from zero to the maximum compression

stress defined by the point (εc,c , f c,c ). The second branch, a descending straight line, rep-

resents the concrete softening behaviour after maximum strength until failure. The slope of

the second branch, equal to the product Z f c,c , and the value of the maximum compression

point, depend on the degree of confinement of the concrete:

f c, c = β f c (1)

εc, c = β εc

2

(2)

β − 0.85

Z = (3)

β 0.1αw ωw + 0.0035 + εc,c

fined concrete, εc is the strain corresponding to f c and equal to 0.002, αw is a coefficient

that expresses the effect of both the longitudinal bars and the density of the stirrups on the

degree of confinement of the concrete core, and ωw is the mechanical volumetric ratio of the

stirrups, equal to:

Ast f yw (lw /s)

ωw = (4)

b0 h 0 f c

where Ast and lw are the area of the cross section and the length of hoops or ties in the

direction of confinement, f yw is the yielding stress of the stirrups, s is the distance between

stirrups along the member axis, and b0 and h 0 are the dimensions of the confined concrete

core measured from the centre-line of the stirrups. For unconfined concrete, the values of β

and Z are set equal to 1 and 100, respectively.

The values of the parameters β and αw were determined from the model proposed by

Mander et al. (1988), which has been accepted in EN 1998-2 (2004), Annex E, and can be

applied to all section shapes at all levels of confinement by defining a confinement parameter

λc equal to:

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1402 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

σe 2σe

λc = 2.254 1 + 7.94 − − 1.254 (5)

fc fc

which is function of the effective confinement pressure:

σe = αw ρw f yw (6)

and

αw = αn αs (7)

bi2

αn = 1 − (8)

6 b0 h 0

n

s s

αs = 1 − 1− (9)

2 · b0 2 · h0

Asw

ρw = (10)

sb

where ρw is the shear reinforcement ratio, Asw is the total area of hoops or ties in the direction

of confinement, n is the number of longitudinal restrained bars, bi is the distance between

consecutive restrained bars, and b is the dimension of the concrete core perpendicular to the

direction of the confinement under consideration, measured to the outside of the perimeter

hoop. For rectangular sections, the confinement effects should be evaluated in two orthogonal

directions, say directions 2 and 3, parallel to the long and short sides defining the rectangular

section. When the values of ρw in these two directions are not equal, the effective confining

pressure may be estimated as:

√

σe = σe2 σe3 (11)

Where the confinement effects are substantially different in each of the two directions the

effective confinement pressure is controlled by the smaller pressure; in this case σe is com-

puted as the minimum between σe2 and σe3 .

The confinement parameter β for the confined concrete fibres was made equal to the con-

finement parameter λc given in Eq. (5); for the unconfined concrete, the value of β was set

equal to 1.

Moreover, for the confined concrete a third branch was considered after the softening

compression branch and before reaching failure: a zero slope straight line defining a com-

pression plateau. This additional condition accounts for the residual strength of the concrete

core for important axial, post-peak deformations. Following the recommendations of Park

et al. (1982), a residual strength equal to 20% of the peak strength was assumed in the model.

Unloading from the envelope follows a law similar to the one proposed by Mercer and

Martin (1987); no strength degradation is considered. A bilinear model was used to represent

the behaviour of concrete under monotonic tensile loading, unloading to zero stress after

reaching the maximum tensile stress. Details on the model for cyclic tensile loading can be

found in Guedes et al. (1994).

The calibration of the numerical model focused on a correct representation of the initial

stiffness of the section, considering the cracked and uncracked stiffness, and on predicting

the section behaviour after yielding. The results indicate that the numerical model is able to

follow the skeleton curve of the section, as shown in Fig. 3 for slice #1 (see Fig. 1b), while

giving a good estimation at different curvature amplitudes of the dissipated hysteretic energy

for the first four slices (Fig. 4), in spite of the more pronounced pinching of the numerical

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1403

Fig. 3 Comparison between numerical and experimental results relative to slice #1 of the pier when subjected

to the entire duration of the design earthquake

Fig. 4 Comparison between the energy dissipated per cycle by the numerical model and by the sections

belonging to different pier slices for cyclic tests of increasing amplitude

model with respect to the experimental results. The mechanical properties of steel and con-

crete were equated to those obtained from the experimental test as given in Tables 1 and 2

considering a 30% reduction on the ultimate strain of steel εsu . The remaining parameters of

the numerical model are given in Table 3; full details concerning the calibration procedure

are given in (Paulotto et al. 2007).

4 Parametric analysis

The aim of the parametric analysis was to evaluate the moment-curvature behaviour, ductil-

ity capacity and energy dissipated of reinforced concrete pier sections of various geometric

123

1404 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

Table 3 Parameters used to compute the maximum stress point (εcc , f cc ) and slope of descending branch of

the confined concrete constitutive model in CAST3M

f c1 28.3 MPa εc 0.002

Asw2 157.1 mm2 Asw3 39.3 mm2

b02 779 mm b03 139 mm

h 02 139 mm h 03 779 mm

s2 60 mm f yw 699.5 MPa

lw 2860 mm Ast 19.6 mm2

σe2 1.361 MPa σe3 1.908 MPa

σe 1.612 MPa αn 0.768

ωw 3 0.214 αw 0.579

β = λc 1.348 Z 18.9

1 Concrete cylinder strength, computed as 0.8 times the cubic strength given in Table 2

2 Stirrup spacing measured in the mock-up at slice #1

3 The mechanical volumetric ratio of stirrups is computed using b and h

02 02

configurations and reinforcement layouts subjected to different levels of axial forces. The

following parameters that play a major role in determining the behaviour of the section were

considered: concrete class and steel reinforcement yield strength, wall thickness, section

aspect ratio, longitudinal reinforcement ratio, axial load level, and confinement level. The

definition of the range of variation for each of these parameters is discussed in the following

paragraphs, while the values that were considered in the analysis are reported in Table 4.

For each of the 2700 combinations of these values, two nonlinear static analyses, one mono-

tonic, and one cyclic, were performed in order to obtain the skeleton curve and the damping

properties of the corresponding pier section. Finally, each skeleton curve was approximated

through a bilinear curve.

Tempcore B500C reinforcing steel belonging to class C as defined by Normative Annex

C of EN 1992-1-1 (2004) was considered in the analysis, assuming a characteristic yield

strength f yk of 500 MPa and characteristic tensile strength f tk equal to 1.19 f yk (Priestley

et al. 1996), elongation εsu at maximum force equal to 0.11 (monotonic) and strain at the onset

of hardening equal 0.02. According to EN 1998-1 (2004), article 7.2.1 (1), the prescribed

concrete class in plastic regions should not be lower than C20/25, and not higher than C40/50.

In the parametric analysis, concrete classes C25, C30 and C35 were considered. Following

the provisions of EN 1998-1 (2004), article 4.3.3.4 (4), the element properties derived in the

parametric analysis were computed from the mean values of the material properties based

on information provided in Table 6.1 of EN 1992-1-1 (2004) and in Annex E of EN 1998-2

Wall thickness (m) 0.40

in the parametric analysis

Concrete C25 C30 C35

H/B 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0

Steel Tempcore B500C

ρL 0.005 0.010 0.020 0.030 0.040

νk 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40

λc 1.0 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0

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Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1405

(2004). The mean values of the compressive stress f cm and yield stress f ym of concrete and

steel were calculated as 8 + f ck ( MPa) and 1.15 f yk , respectively, with f ck and f yk equal to

their characteristic values.

From a survey of a number of bridge designs with hollow sections it was observed that the

thickness t of the walls varies between 0.30 and 0.50 m; in the parametric analysis a constant

value of t equal to 0.40 m was chosen for the wall thickness . A monocellular hollow pier with

the outer dimension B of the flange constant and equal to 2.00 m was considered, resulting

in a width to thickness ratio of the flange B/t constant and equal to 5, and in a section aspect

ratio of 2.0 at the maximum wall slenderness ratio allowed by article 6.2.4 (2) of EN 1998-2

(2004) and equal to 8. Aspect ratios H/B ranging between 1.0 and 3.0 were considered in

the parametric analysis, exceeding the maximum allowed slenderness ratio for aspect ratios

larger than 2.0.

The longitudinal reinforcement ratio ρ L , equal to As /Ac , where As and Ac are the total

areas of longitudinal reinforcement and concrete cross-section, was varied between 0.005

and the maximum allowed by article 5.4.3.2.2 (1) of EN 1998-1 (2004) and equal to 0.04;

the steel reinforcement was distributed in two layers and uniformly distributed across the

section.

The normalized axial force, νk , was varied between 0.1 and 0.4, a range commonly found

in design practice, and is equal to:

N Ed

νk = (12)

Ac f ck

where N Ed is the design axial force corresponding to the seismic condition, and f ck is the

characteristic strength of concrete, equal to f cm − 8 (units in MPa).

The variation of the level of confinement of the cross section was established by evaluating

Eqs. (5) to (10) (with f c equal to f cm ) considering the possible combinations of transverse

reinforcement layout as a function of the diameter of the longitudinal steel, the longitudinal

steel reinforcement ratio, the normalised axial force and the restrictions imposed by EN 1998-

2 (2004) on rebar spacing. For longitudinal steel reinforcement diameters varying between

16 and 32 millimetres at 100, 150 and 200 millimetre spacing, the transverse reinforcement

ratio ρw was found to vary from 0.003 to 0.018, leading to confinement levels λc varying

between 1.0 and 2.0 (Paulotto et al. 2007).

The failure of the section was calculated when the reinforcing steel attains its ultimate

strain in tension or compression, when the confined concrete reaches its ultimate compres-

sive strain, or when the strength of the section decreases to 80% of its maximum value. The

ultimate tensile strain of steel was set at 70% of the strain εsu at maximum stress under

monotonic load, recognizing the reduced deformation capacity of steel under cyclic loading

(Priestley et al. 1996). The ultimate compressive strain of the confined concrete was computed

according to EN 1998-2 (2004), article E.2.1:

∗

1.4ρs f ym εsu

εcu,c = 0.004 + (13)

f cm,c

where ρs = 2ρw for orthogonal hoops, εsu∗ is the elongation at maximum stress of the rein-

forcement steel under cyclic loading, made equal to 0.70εsu , and f cm,c is the mean value

of the compressive strength of the confined concrete. Equation (13) has been formulated

from considerations on confined sections under axial compression: when used to estimate

the ultimate compression strains of sections subjected to bending, or combined bending

and axial compression, Eq. (13) tends to be conservative by at least 50% (Priestley et al.

1996). Mean values of the concrete strength, f cm , are used in Eq. (13), as well as in the

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1406 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

moment-curvature bilinear

approximation of the nonlinear

skeleton curve of the pier section

estimation of the level of confinement and of the properties of the constitutive model of

the concrete fibres following the provisions of Annex E of EN 1998-2 (2004), which states

that mean values should be used for the estimation of the deformation capacity of plastic

hinges.

The nonlinear skeleton curves obtained from the parametric analysis were approximated

through bilinear curves, based on first yield, when the first steel fibre reaches the yield strain

in tension or when the first extreme fibre in compression attains a strain of 0.002, and on

failure of the section, as described in the previous paragraph. The line that joins the origin

and the first yield point gives the initial slope of the bilinear curve, whereas the line that

extends through the failure point and balances the areas between the actual and the idealized

moment-curvature relationships beyond the first yield point gives the slope of the second

branch (Fig. 5).

It is worth noting that sections with different detailing, and hence with different rein-

forcement ratios ρw , may lead to the same value of the confinement parameter λc . Since the

ultimate compressive strain εcu,c depends on the amount of ρw , for the same value of λc ,

different values of εcu,c , and hence of maximum curvature, may be obtained.

ear relationship, as defined in the previous section, and four parameters: yield curvature

and moment, χ y and M y , and ultimate curvature and moment at failure of the section, χu

and Mu , which were used to summarize the results of the parametric analysis in a series

of charts (Paulotto et al. 2007). An example of these charts is shown in Fig. 6 for ρ L

equal to 0.02, where the results are expressed in terms of the following dimensionless

parameters:

χy H (14)

χu

μu = (15)

χy

My

(16)

f cm B H 2

Mu −M y

χu −χ y

α= My

(17)

χy

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1407

By fitting the numerical results, analytical expressions were determined to estimate the yield

curvature and moment:

1

χ y = 0.00971ρ L0.114 [rad] (18)

H

−3 (ρ L +0.063)

My H

= 140 C1 C2 (ρ L + 0.013) [N, mm]

BH2 B

C1 = 1650 (0.04 − ρ L )2 + 0.45 ; C2 = νk + (28ρ L + 0.31)2 − 0.07 (19)

Equations (18) and (19) correspond to the average values obtained for the confine-

ment parameter λc varying between 1.2 and 2.0, over which the secant-to-yield stiff-

ness remains practically constant with maximum variations of the yield point (χ y , M y )

between 2 and 9% for ρ L equal to 0.005 and 0.04, respectively, with respect to the aver-

age obtained for λc equal to 1.6. Equation (19) is given in dimensional form, as M y

is not influenced by the concrete classes considered in the analysis (i.e., C25 through

C35).

By rewriting the product 0.00971ρ L0.114 as υε y it is possible to compare Eq. (18) with

similar expressions proposed in literature for the estimation of the yield curvature. For ε y

equal to 0.0025 and for ρ L varying between 0.005 and 0.04, υ varies in Eq. (18) from 2.12

to 2.69, with a variation of 12% around its mean value of 2.41. Such values are consistent

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1408 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

with those proposed by the International Federation for Structural Concrete (2006) that set

υ equal to 2.25 within an error of 10% for rectangular hollow sections. Other expressions

proposed are by Priestley et al. (1996) that set υ equal to 2.14 ± 10% for rectangular sections,

and by Priestley and Kowalsky (1998) that set υ equal to 2 ± 5% for rectangular walls with

0.5% reinforcement ratio plus end reinforcement (up to 1.5%). The difference of υ between

the latter of these expressions and that proposed in Eq. (18) is due to the different section

shape, the amount of longitudinal reinforcement and the linearisation procedure considered

in deriving χ y .

Concerning the ratio of post-yielding to initial stiffness α, the charts in (Paulotto et al.

2007) indicate that for λc equal or larger than 1.2, α is always equal or lower than 0.01,

suggesting that the bilinear diagram may be taken as elastoplastic (i.e., α equal to zero). For

the particular case of λc = 1.2 and νk equal to 0.3 and 0.4, α is negative, however, since its

value is low, varying between 0 and −0.02, α is assumed to be equal to zero, which is a valid

approximation considering that the expressions proposed are intended to be used within the

framework of equivalent linear analysis. For λc equal to 1.0, larger values of α, as large as

0.18, are obtained, due to curve fitting of the numerical envelope with the bilinear diagram at

low levels of ductility. In practice, α may also be taken equal to zero for λc equal to 1.0, since

at low ductilities the difference between the yield and the ultimate points is not relevant. As

a result, Eqs. (18) and (19) are also applicable for λc equal to 1.0.

Concerning μu , some general considerations can be extrapolated: for λc ≤ 1.4, μu

decreases with the increase of H/B, ρ L and νk , while μu may be approximated as being

independent of the different concrete classes considered as failure of the section is controlled

by fracture of the steel fibres in tension. The values of μu obtained from the charts of Fig. 6

and given in (Paulotto et al. 2007), when used in conjunction with Eq. (18) should be recal-

culated by multiplying the value of μu from the chart by the ratio of the corresponding yield

curvature χ y obtained from the chart and the yield curvature given by Eq. (18). The derivation

of closed form expressions for the calculation of μu is presented in Sect. 7 within the context

of the proposal of a simplified design procedure.

For flange width to thickness ratios different from that considered in the parametric anal-

ysis (i.e., B/t equal to 5), the expression for computing M y given in Eq. (19) remains

unchanged, as the neutral axis falls within the flange in compression when computing the

ultimate moment of the section – equal to the yield moment for the particular case of elasto-

plastic behaviour; the yield curvature slightly decreases with the increase of the wall width,

however, for practical purposes the yield curvature may be considered independent of the

width and equal to the value given in Eq. (18). Likewise, the value of ρ L used in Eq. (19)

and in the chart of Fig. 6, for B/t ratios different from 5, must be computed by multiply-

ing the actual value of the steel longitudinal reinforcement ratio by a factor equal to 5t/B.

The normalised axial force νk and confinement parameter λc are computed using the actual

geometry and f cm of the cross section.

The hysteretic energy dissipated by the considered sections was evaluated from the para-

metric analysis after nonlinear analyses performed under increasing cyclic curvature; the

results are expressed in terms of a dimensionless parameter:

W

η= (20)

2π Mmax χmax

where W is the energy dissipated in one cycle, Mmax and χmax are the maximum moment

and curvature cyclic amplitude, respectively. The results indicate that η does not depend on

the section aspect ratio, while it depends strongly on the normalized axial force, although

this dependence becomes weaker as the longitudinal reinforcement ratio increases. It was

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1409

also found that by increasing the confinement of the section, the section ductility increases

without any relevant changes in the dissipated energy; based on this result, all the cyclic

analyses were conducted assuming λc equal to 2.0. The results for sections in which C25

concrete is used are shown in Fig. 7, which may be approximated, for νk ≤ 0.30, by the

following expression in terms of the curvature ductility, μ:

νk − 0.1 1

η = 1− 0.96ρ L0.2 1 − √ (21)

78 · ρ L μ

Equation (21) may also be used for concrete classes C30 and C35, as well as for widths dif-

ferent from that considered in the analysis and within the ranges typically found in practice.

All the expressions presented in this section correspond to Tempcore B500C steel.

Using the plastic hinge approach, the properties derived at the section level are used to com-

pute the force-displacement envelope and the energy dissipation characteristics of the piers,

from which the pier equivalent properties of stiffness and damping ratio, K eq and ξeq , are

evaluated.

The equivalent stiffness of a cantilever pier of height L is defined as the secant stiffness

K eq at displacement at the top of the pier:

= y μd (22)

χy · L2

y = (23)

3

3L p Lp

μd = 1 + (μ − 1) α + 1 − 0.5 (24)

L L

with y and μd equal to the yield displacement and the displacement ductility of the

pier, respectively, with L p denoting the plastic hinge length. Considering that the force-

displacement envelope of the pier is bilinear, the equivalent stiffness is expressed as:

K eq = K y when μd ≤ 1

(25)

K eq = 1+αdμ(μd d −1) K y when μd > 1

3 · My

Ky = (26)

χy · L 3

1

αd = (27)

3L p L

1+ αL 1 − 0.5 Lp

where K y and αd are the secant-to-yield stiffness and the post-yield stiffness ratio of the pier,

respectively.

The equivalent damping ratio of the pier ξeq is calculated according to Jacobsen (1930)

as a function of Wd and E d , equal to the energy dissipated and energy stored by the pier in

a cycle of maximum ductility μd :

123

1410 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

Fig. 7 Dimensionless energy dissipated by the pier section for cycles of different ductility

Wd

ξeq = (28)

2 · π · Ed

Wd = W · L p (29)

χy L

Ed = μd M y [1 + α (μ − 1)] (30)

3

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1411

By substituting Eqs. (20), (29) and (30) into Eq. (28), and by making Mmax and χmax equal to

M y [1+α(μ−1)] and χ y μ, respectively, the following expression for the equivalent damping

ratio of the pier is obtained:

μ Lp

ξeq = 3η (31)

μd L

The expressions presented in this section give good estimates of the load-deformation

response of members where the relative contribution of shear with respect to flexural

deformation is not important, i.e., for members with shear span-to-depth ratios larger than

2.0 ∼ 2.5, as well as for members with low shear span-to-depth ratios where the contribution

of shear deformation is relevant, following the approach exposed in the following paragraphs.

According to the plastic hinge method, the displacement at the top of a cantilever pier of

length L is computed as the sum of the contribution of the deformations from a plastic and an

elastic region, defined as a function of the distribution of curvatures along the member. The

curvatures along the plastic region span over a length L p and are considered constant and

equal to the curvature at the critical section of the member, while the curvatures along the

elastic region decrease linearly to zero from the curvature at yield. The displacement at the

top of the pier is then computed from the first moment of inertia of the curvature distribution

about the top of the pier:

χy L 2 Lp

= + χmax − χ y L p L − (32)

3 2

where χmax is the maximum curvature at the critical section of the pier (i.e., at the base).

Equation (32) considers that the behaviour of the pier is elasto-plastic (post-yield stiffness

ratio α of the section equal to zero), which is a valid approximation for bridge piers reinforced

with Tempcore B500C steel reinforcement and detailed to undergo plastic deformations (i.e.,

λc > 1). The length of the plastic hinge may be computed from the results of experimental

tests by solving Eq. (32), such that for the maximum curvature measured at the base of the pier

at different ductility levels, the corresponding maximum displacement measured at the top of

the pier is obtained; the yield curvature is assessed from the experimental moment-curvature

diagram of the section. Following this procedure and using the experimental results from

Pinto et al. (1996), the values of L p , presented graphically in Fig. 8 for the tall, medium and

short piers, were obtained as a function of the curvature ductility μ of the critical section, as

expressed by the following expression:

L

μ−1

L = c L μ L −1 with 1 ≤ μ ≤ μ L

p

Lp (33)

L = cL with μ ≥ μ L

where c L and μ L are two parameters that depend on the shear span-to-depth ratio L/H , and

are equal, for the medium (MP) and tall piers (TP) (L/H equal to 3.5 and 5.25), to 0.0624

and 9, and for the short pier (A1) (L/H equal to 1.75), to 0.127 and 5, respectively. The

experimental points given in Fig. 8 for the MP and TP piers for ductilities larger than 13

where not considered in deriving Eq. (33), as for these ductilites the piers were considered to

have failed after a reduction of more than 20% of their ultimate capacity. Since these results

were derived from a very limited number of tests, it would be desirable that a larger set of

experimental data is used to increase the reliability of the proposed curves.

An important feature of the procedure exposed above to calculate the length of the plastic

hinge is that it allows determining in a simplified manner the flexibility of a short pier, account-

ing in an empirical way for the contribution of shear deformations that otherwise would need

123

1412 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

between the plastic hinge length

and the pier height as a function

of the ductility level of the critical

section of the pier and the pier

aspect ratio

Fig. 9 Equivalent stiffness in terms of pier ductility: comparison between numerical and experimental values

for the short (A1), medium (MP) and tall (TP) piers

to be obtained from more refined and computationally expensive analytical methods: this is

achieved by deriving the plastic hinge length of the short pier so that both flexural and shear

deformations are included.

As an example, the proposed procedure is applied to derive the equivalent stiffness (Fig. 9)

and equivalent damping ratio (Fig. 10) of the A1 pier tested in Pinto et al. (1995) and

of the medium and tall piers (MP, TP) of the B231C bridge tested in Pinto et al. (1996).

The piers were constructed using Tempcore B500B steel rebars—with properties within the

range of class C steel reinforcement for the longitudinal bars of the flanges, thus making

the results comparable with the expressions proposed in Sects. 5 and 6—and C25 concrete

∗ = 33 MPa), with an aspect ratio H/B of the section equal to 2.0 (H and B equal to 1.6

( f cm

and 0.8 m, respectively) and a normalised axial force νk equal to 0.10. In Table 5 are listed

the remaining characteristics of the piers, showing the values of the parameters used to derive

the equivalent properties and the bilinear envelopes at the section and pier level; the length

of the plastic hinge was derived from the curves shown in Fig. 8.

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1413

Fig. 10 Equivalent damping in terms of pier ductility: comparison between numerical and experimental

values for the short (A1), medium (MP) and tall (TP) piers

Equation A1 pier MP pier TP pier

the bilinear force displacement

envelopes and equivalent

L (m) 2.8 5.6 8.4

stiffness K eq and damping ratio

ξeq of the short (A1), medium ρL 0.009 0.012 0.012

(MP) and tall (TP) piers λc 1.24 1.22 1.22

ρw 0.0033 0.0033 0.0033

χ y (mrad) (18) 3.55 3.67 3.67

M y (kN · m) (19) 3823 4783 4783

α 0 0 0

μ1u From charts 16.0 15.9 15.9

η (21) 0.28 0.30 0.30

y (m) (23) 0.00927 0.0383 0.0862

L p (m) (33) 0.36 0.35 0.52

1 μ is calculated as μ from αd (27) 0 0 0

u u

chart multiplied by χ y from chart K y (MN/m) (26) 147 22.3 6.61

divided by χ y from Eq. (16)

2 μ is given by Eq. (22) by μ2du (24) 6.4 3.7 3.7

du

setting μ = μu 3 (MN/m)

K eq (25) 23.2 6.01 1.78

3 K and ξ calculated at

eq eq 3

ξeq (31) 0.27 0.24 0.24

μd = μdu and μ = μu

7 Ultimate deformation

The displacement capacity u of a cantilever pier may be computed from Eqs. (18), (32)

and (33), by substituting with u , χmax with χu , equal to χ y μu , and μ by μu ; the ultimate

curvature ductility μu being obtained from the charts generated through the parametric anal-

ysis (see Fig. 6) as explained in Sect. 5. In the following paragraphs a simplified procedure

to design the cross section of a bridge pier to meet a given target performance is presented,

based on closed form expressions derived for the ultimate ductility of the section.

123

1414 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

μu with respect to λc according

to Eq. (34) for a given set of

H/B, νk and ρ L values

Insight on the variation of the ultimate curvature ductility with respect to the parameters

considered in the parametric analysis may be obtained by examining the variation of μu with

respect to λc for a given set of H/B, νk and ρ L values, as shown schematically in Fig. 11,

where μu is approximated as varying linearly from a minimum value equal to μu,min at λc

equal to 1, up to a maximum value equal to μu,max at λc equal to λ∗c , and from there on

remaining constant, as expressed by the following expression:

μ −μu,min

μu = μu,min + u,max λ∗c −1 (λc − 1) for 1 ≤ λc < λ∗c

(34)

μu = μu,max for λc ≥ λ∗c

Figure 11 reflects that failure of the section in the rising branch of the curve (for λc < λ∗c ) is

determined by the ultimate compressive strain of concrete, while in the constant part of the

curve (for λc ≥ λ∗c ) failure of the section is determined by fracture of the steel reinforcement

in tension.

With the purpose of simplifying the design process, the ultimate curvature ductility is

averaged over the considered range of H/B values, with maximum variations of 15% and

5% for μu,min and μu,max , respectively.

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1415

The variation of μu,min , μu,max , and λ∗c with respect to νk is plotted in Figs. 12 and 13 for

different values of ρ L , leading to the following approximated closed form expressions:

− (20ρ L −0.85)2 +0.30

μu,min = 1.06 νk ; μu,max = 6.33 (νk + 2.37) (35)

λ∗c = G 1 νk + G 2 (36)

where G 1 and G 2 are parameters equal to (1.28; 1.44; 1.44; 1.04; 0.92) and (1.10; 1.12;

1.30; 1.52; 1.64) for ρ L equal to (0.005; 0.01; 0.02; 0.03; 0.04), respectively. Equations (35)

and (36) reflect the variation of the ultimate curvature ductility of the section resulting from

balancing the compression and tension forces of concrete and steel as a function of the levels

of νk and ρ L . In particular, larger values of μu,max are achieved at higher levels of νk , since

the increased axial compression allows for larger rotations of the section while maintaining

the strain associated to fracture of the steel reinforcement in tension.

Equations (34), (35) and (36) indicate that at low levels of νk and ρ L it is sufficient to pro-

vide a limited amount of λc to reach μu,max , while at high levels of νk and ρ L high values of λc

are necessary to develop μu,max . This information may be used for the assessment and design

of a bridge pier in relation to a given target performance, which may be defined, in terms of

a maximum displacement ductility μd , a maximum drift , or a maximum displacement

of the pier.

If the maximum displacement ductility of the pier is used as target performance, the vari-

ation of μ as a function of μd may be expressed by rearranging Eq. (32) and by substituting

with y μd , with y = χ y L 3 /3, so that the following expression is obtained:

1

μ=1+ [μd − 1] (37)

L L

3 Lp 1 − 0.5 Lp

where L p /L is given by Eq. (33). Note that for μ < μ L , L p /L is a function of μ, so that

Eq. (37) needs to be solved iteratively for μ. The plot of Eq. (37) for μd equal to 2, 3 and 4

is given in the chart of Fig. 14 for the medium and tall piers for νk equal to 0.1. The chart

suggests that to reach a given level of μd high levels of λc are required at large values of ρ L .

123

1416 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

Fig. 14 Proposed chart for design and assessment of MP and TP pier sections with νk = 0.10 using displace-

ment ductility μd as target performance

Likewise, if the maximum drift δ of the pier is used as target performance, the variation

of μ with respect to is obtained by expressing μd as:

δL

μd = (38)

y

so that by substituting Eqs. (23) and (18) into Eq. (38), which is then substituted into Eq. (37),

the following expression is obtained:

1 3 δH

μ=1+ −1 (39)

3

Lp L

1 − 0.5 Lp 0.00971ρ L0.114 L

L

In the same way as for Eq. (37), Eq. (30) needs to be solved iteratively for μ when μ is

less than μ L . The plot of Eq. (39) as a function of λc for the non-dimensional values δ H/L

corresponding to 0.005, 0.006 and 0.007 is given in Fig. 15 for the medium and tall piers;

the intersection between Eqs. (39) and (34) provides the performance point of the pier.

The use of these charts is illustrated in the following example for a section with νk equal

to 0.1. For assessment purposes of the maximum displacement capacity of the pier, suppose

the section is detailed with ρ L equal to 0.02 and λc equal to 1.3, the charts indicates that the

maximum displacement ductility and maximum drift that the pier can develop is equal to 2.9

and 0.0061L/H , respectively, both associated to a value of μu equal to 11.7. Likewise, for

design, suppose that the target displacement ductility is equal to 3 or that the target drift is

equal to 0.007L/H , with the constraint of developing a minimum flexural strength corre-

sponding to ρ L equal to 0.03, the charts indicates that the section should be confined with a

detailing corresponding to λc equal to 1.46 and 1.51, respectively.

For the case where the maximum displacement is used as target performance, it is

sufficient to substitute into Eq. (39) and in Fig. 15 the term δ H/L by δ H/L 2 .

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1417

Fig. 15 Proposed chart for design and assessment of MP and TP pier sections with νk = 0.10 using δ H/L

as target performance

8 Takeda model

The parameters of a Takeda model to be used in the context of nonlinear time history anal-

ysis to assess the earthquake response of a bridge structure with rectangular RC hollow

piers are given in the following paragraphs, assuming the following properties are known:

H, B, L , νk , ρ L and λc . The Takeda Model is defined by a moment-rotation envelope and

by two factors, an unloading stiffness parameter a and a reloading stiffness parameter b, that

determine the rules for cyclic loading and unloading.

The moment-rotation envelope is bilinear and is defined by the yield rotation and moment,

θ y = χ y L p and M y , as given by Eqs. (18), (19) and (33), and by the ratio of the post-yielding

to initial stiffness r, equivalent to α of Eq. (17) and set equal to zero. The parameters a

and b are chosen such that the energy ξT dissipated by the Takeda model, as given by the

expression proposed by Loeding et al. (1988) in Eq. (40), is equal to the energy dissipated η

by the section as obtained from the parametric analysis.

2 3 1 r bμ 1 1

ξ T = ξ0 + 1 − μa−1 − 1− +1 2−b· 1−

π 4 4 γ μ μ

2

1 r b2 μ 1

−μa−1 γ − 1− (40)

4 γ μ

Where γ = r μ − r + 1, a is the unloading stiffness factor and b is the reloading stiffness

factor. The values of a and b are calculated for ξ0 equal to zero, i.e., only the contribution of

hysteretic damping is taken into account.

Since different combinations of a and b may yield the same value of damping, it was

decided to fix one of the parameters while varying the other. In view of the fact that the reload-

ing stiffness parameter for bridge piers tends to be near zero (i.e., ‘thin’ cycles) (Blandon

and Priestley 2005), it was decided to keep b constant, while varying parameter a. It was

found that a value of b equal to 0.3 was the only value that allowed fitting Eq. (40) with

the energy dissipated by the numerical model as given from the parametric analysis, while

varying parameter a between 0.01 and 0.93, as shown in Fig. 16 for ρ L equal to 0.02. The

123

1418 Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420

Fig. 16 Comparison of the hysteretic dissipated energy at different ductility levels between test results and

Takeda model with b = 0.3 and a computed from Eq. (41) for different levels of νk

νk ρL

as a function of ρ L and νk , with

b = 0.3 and r = 0 0.005 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04

0.2 0.79 0.61 0.41 0.26 0.13

0.3 0.88 0.75 0.54 0.39 0.27

0.4 0.93 0.82 0.64 0.47 0.33

values of a are given in Table 6, and are fitted by the following closed-form expression as a

function of the amount of longitudinal reinforcement ρ L and axial load ratio νk :

9 Conclusion

The present paper provides expressions to determine the equivalent secant stiffness and

equivalent damping of reinforced concrete rectangular hollow sections of bridge piers of var-

ious geometries and steel layouts reinforced with Tempcore B500C steel at different levels

of normalised axial force to be used within the framework of displacement based assessment

and design. The expressions were derived from moment-curvature monotonic and cyclic

curves at the pier section obtained from parametric analysis using a fibre model calibrated

against experimental results performed on large scale specimens.

The results at the section level are expressed in charts and closed-form equations based on

bilinear moment-curvature envelops and equivalent damping representing the energy con-

tained in the curves obtained from the parametric analysis. The results at the section level

are translated to the pier level following the plastic hinge approach; expressions calibrated

against experimental results for determining the length of the plastic hinge length in terms

of ductility are proposed for tall to medium, and short piers.

123

Bull Earthquake Eng (2010) 8:1397–1420 1419

A series of charts for assessing and designing the performance of a bridge pier in terms

of target ductility, drift and displacement are proposed, based on the results of the ultimate

ductility obtained at the section level from the parametric analysis.

Lastly, the parameters of a Takeda model fitting the moment-rotation envelopes and equiv-

alent damping from the parametric analysis are proposed for the assessment of the perfor-

mance of a bridge structure using nonlinear analysis with plastic hinges at the base of the

pier.

It is believed that the simplified procedures and expressions proposed will provide a useful

tool for the preliminary assessment and design of bridges, as well as for the optimization of

cross-section properties and detailing; complex structures (i.e., irregular bridges) should be

designed/checked on the basis of adequate analysis methods and models.

Acknowledgements The technical support given by Pierre Pegon and Artur Pinto of the Joint Research

Centre is greatly appreciated.

References

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European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium

EN 1998-1 (2004) Eurocode 8: design of structures for earthquake resistance—Part 1: general rules, seismic

actions and rules for buildings. European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium

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