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OSMS 95-13

"Seismic Interaction at Separation Joints of an Instrumented Concrete Bridge"

by Praveen K. Malhotra, Moh J. Huang and Anthony F. Shakal

Malhotra, Praveen K., Moh J. Huang and Anthony F. Shakal (1995). Seismic Interaction at Separation Joints of an Instrumented Concrete Bridge. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, Vol 24, 1995, p.1055-1067.

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Introduction

A multi-span, curved, concrete box-girder bridge has been extensively instrumented by the California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP) in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). On 28 June 1992, the bridge was shaken by the magnitude 7.5 Landers and magnitude 6.6 Big Bear earthquakes in southern California. The epicentres of these earthquakes were 50 and 29 miles (81 and 46 km) from the bridge, respectively. All 34 strong-motion sensors installed on the bridge recorded the response to these earthquakes and provided an insightful set of data. A striking aspect of the response is the presence of intermittent sharp spikes in nearly all of the acceleration records from sensors at the deck of the bridge. Among these the highest spike was 0.8g for the Landers and 1.0g for the Big Bear earthquake. The peak ground acceleration at the bridge site was only about 0-lg for both these earthquakes. With the aid of visual examination and simple analysis it is deduced that (1) the spikes were caused by forces generated at separation joints by impacts and stretching of the cable restrainers between adjacent bridge segments; (2) the forces of impacts and cable stretching are directly proportional to the size of the spikes and can be estimated by the use of a simple formula; and (3) the spikes travelled from their source to other locations on the bridge with the velocity of a compression wave propagating through concrete.