Deformation-based vulnerability functions for RC bridges

A. S. Elnashai, B. Borzi, S. Vlachos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


There is an ever-increasing demand for assessment of earthquake effects on transportation structures, emphasised by the crippling consequences of recent earthquakes hitting developed countries reliant on road transportation. In this work, vulnerability functions for RC bridges are derived analytically using advanced material characterisation, high quality earthquake records and adaptive inelastic dynamic analysis techniques. Four limit states are employed, all based on deformational quantities, in line with recent development of deformation-based seismic assessment. The analytically-derived vulnerability functions are then compared to a data set comprising observational damage data from the Northridge (California 1994) and Hyogo-ken Nanbu (Kobe 1995) earthquakes. The good agreement gives some confidence in the derived formulation that is recommended for use in seismic risk assessment. Furthermore, by varying the dimensions of the prototype bridge used in the study, and the span lengths supported by piers, three more bridges are obtained with different overstrength ratios (ratio of design-to-available base shear). The process of derivation of vulnerability functions is repeated and the ensuing relationships compared. The results point towards the feasibility of deriving scaling factors that may be used to obtain the set of vulnerability functions for a bridge with the knowledge of a 'generic' function and the overstrength ratio. It is demonstrated that this simple procedure gives satisfactory results for the case considered and may be used in the future to facilitate the process of deriving analytical vulnerability functions for classes of bridges once a generic relationship is established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-244
Number of pages30
JournalStructural Engineering and Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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