American Society of Civil Engineers

Seismic Modeling of Skewed Bridges with Elastomeric Bearings and Side Retainers

by Shervin Maleki, P.E., M.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Sharif Univ., Tehran, Iran)

Journal of Bridge Engineering, Vol. 10, No. 4, July/August 2005, pp. 442-449, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Elastomeric expansion bearings are often restrained laterally by retainers on each side. The retainers are in the form of a concrete shear block, rolled steel angles, or welded plates. To allow for longitudinal temperature movements, the retainers are placed with a slight clearance (gap) from the elastomer. The gap introduces nonlinearity in the seismic analysis of the bridge and, therefore, is often ignored by designers for the sake of simplicity. This paper compares the seismic response of straight and skewed slab-girder single-span bridges under the conditions of zero gap and standard gap for the retainers. Nonlinear time-history analysis is employed to measure the seismic demand on retainers, elastomers, and pinned bearings in each case. The stiffness of end-diaphragms and elastomeric bearings is included in the analysis. It is shown that these relationships are nonlinear in nature and depend on the frequency content of the input motion. It is also proved that ignoring the nonlinearity in the seismic bridge model can lead to erroneous results that are unsafe to use.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Nonlinear analysis
Seismic effects
Skew bridges