Rocking Connection between a Precast Bridge Column and Cap Beam
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Traditional cast-in-place, concrete bridge construction is often a lengthy undertaking, which is burdensome to the motoring public because of the traffic delays that it causes. Precast construction can accelerate the process by moving fabrication offsite, and then rapidly erecting and connecting bridge components onsite. However, designing connections that are both easy to complete and are robust under seismic loading is challenging. This thesis describes a connection that is intended to meet those criteria, and builds on previous work to do so. Experimental, precast, pre-tensioned specimens developed by Davis et al. (2012) showed good seismic performance, but had significant damage at low drift levels. Adding experimental, ductile materials resulted in less structural damage (Finnsson, 2013), but required unconventional construction materials and awkward fabrication. A new precast, pre-tensioned, column-to-cap beam connection has been developed. The design utilizes (1) unbonded prestressing strands to help the column re-center, (2) bonded reinforcing bars to dissipate energy, (3) a baseplate to permit rigid-body, rocking behavior of the column, and (4) a steel tube to confine the column concrete at the rocking interface. The strands are pre-tensioned when the column is cast, so the connection can be completed without any onsite stressing operations. The connection's seismic performance was evaluated with pseudo-static, cyclic testing of one subassembly. The test results showed that the specimen was stiff at low loads, re-centered well, dissipated energy, and was ductile and durable. Damage to the concrete was negligible and the peak moment strength was measured at drifts exceeding 10%. The system offers a method for achieving accelerated bridge construction that also provides excellent seismic performance and uses only conventional construction materials.
- Civil engineering