Factors affecting the seismic behavior of segmental precast bridge columns

Haitham Dawood, Mohamed Elgawady, Joshua Hewes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This manuscript discusses the design parameters that potentially affect the lateral seismic response of segmental precast post-tensioned bridge piers. The piers consist of precast circular cross section segments stacked one on top of the other with concentric tendons passing through ducts made in the segments during casting. The bottommost segments of the piers were encased in steel tubes to enhance ductility and minimize damage. An FE model was used to investigate different design parameters and how they influence the lateral force — displacement response of the piers. Design parameters investigated included the initial post-tensioning stress as a percentage of the tendon yield stress, the applied axial stresses on concrete due to post-tensioning, pier aspect ratios, construction details, steel tube thicknesses, and internal mild steel rebar added as energy dissipaters. Based on the data presented, an initial tendon stress in the range of 40%–60% of its yield stress and initial axial stress on concrete of approximately 20% of the concrete’s characteristic strength is appropriate for most typical designs. These design values will prevent tendon yielding until lateral drift angle reaches approximately 4.5%. Changing the steel tube thickness, height, or a combination of both proved to be an effective parameter that may be used to reach a target performance level at a specific seismic zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-398
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • bridges
  • concrete
  • finite element analysis
  • precast units

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture


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