Research Articles | Challenge Journal of Structural Mechanics

Some open issues in the seismic design of bridges to Eurocode 8-2

Stergios A. Mitoulis



This paper summarises the ongoing research on the seismic design of isolated and integral bridges at the University of Surrey. The first part of the paper focuses on the tensile stresses of elastomeric bearings that might be developed under seismic excitations, due to the rotations of the pier cap. The problem is described analytically and a multi-level performance criterion is proposed to limit the tensile stresses on the isolators. The second part of the paper sheds light on the response of integral bridges and the interaction with the backfill soil. A method for the estimation of the equivalent damping ratio of short-span integral bridges is presented to enable the seismic design of short period bridges based on Eurocode 8-2. For long-span integral bridges, a novel isolation scheme is proposed for the abutment. The isolator is a compressible inclusion comprises tyre derived aggregates (TDA) and is placed between the abutment and a mechanically stabilised backfill. The analysis of the isolated abutment showed that the compressible inclusion achieves to decouple the response of the bridge from the backfill. The analyses showed that both the pressures on the abutment and the settlements of the backfill soil were significantly reduced under the thermal and the seismic movements of the abutment. Thus, the proposed decoupling of the bridge from the abutment enables designs of long-span integral bridges based on ductility and reduces both construction and maintenance costs.


seismic design; isolated bridges; elastomeric bearings; pier cap; backfill soil

Full Text:



AASHTO (2012). LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. 6th ed., American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, with 2013 interim revisions. Washington, DC.

Argyroudis SA, Mitoulis SA, Pitilakis KD (2013). Seismic response of bridge abutments on surface foundation subjected to collision forces. COMPDYN 4th International Conference in Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Kos, Greece.

Arockiasamy M, Sivakumar M (2005). Time-dependent behavior of continuous composite integral abutment bridges. Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction, 10(3), 161–170.

California Department of Transportation [CalTrans] (1999). Bridge memo to designers (20-1) – Seismic design methodology. Sacramento, CA.

California Department of Transportation [CalTrans] (2013). Seismic design criteria, Version 1.7.

Constantinou MC, Whittaker AS, Kalpakidis Y, Fenz DM, Warn GP (2007). Performance of Seismic Isolation Hardware Under Service and Seismic Loading. Report 07-0012, MCEER, Buffalo, New York.

Dorfmann A, Burtscher SL (2000). Aspects of cavitation damage in seismic bearings. Journal of Structural Engineering, 126, 573-579.

Dorfmann A (2003). Stress softening of elastomers in hydrostatic tension. Acta Mechanica, 165(3), 117-137.

EN 1337-3 (2005). Structural bearings – Part 3: Elastomeric bearings.

EN 15129 (2009). Anti-seismic devices. BSI British Standards.

EN 1998-2 (2005). Eurocode 8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance, Part 2: Bridges.

England GL, Tsang NC (2001). Towards the design of soil loading for integral bridges-experimental evaluation. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College, London.

Gent A (1990). Cavitation in rubber: a cautionary tale. Rubber Chemistry and Technology, 63(3), 49-53.

Iemura H, Taghikhany T, Takahashi Y, Jain S (2005). Effect of variation of normal force on seismic performance of resilient sliding isolation systems in highway bridges, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 34, 1777-1797.

Inel M, Aschheim M (2004). Seismic design of columns of short bridges accounting for embankment flexibility. Journal of Structural Engineering, 130(10), 1515–1528.

Jacobsen LS (1930). Steady forced vibrations as influenced by damping. Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 52, 169-181.

Japan Road Association (1997). Manual for seismic design of highway bridges. Tokyo.

Kelly JM, Konstantinidis DA (2011). Mechanics of Rubber Bearings for Seismic and Vibration Isolation. JohnWiley & Sons Ltd.

Kotsoglou A, Pantazopoulou S (2007). Bridge–embankment interaction under transverse ground excitation. Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics, 36(12), 1719–1740.

Kumar M, Whittaker AS, Constantinou MC (2014). An advanced numerical model of elastomeric seismic isolation bearings. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 43, 1955-1974.

Mitoulis SA (2014). Uplift of elastomeric bearings in isolated bridges subjected to longitudinal seismic excitations. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 11(12), 1600-1615.

Mitoulis SA, Argyroudis S, Pitilakis KD (2014). Green rubberised backfills to enhance the longevity of integral abutment bridges. 15th European Conference On Earthquake Engineering, Istanbul.

Mitoulis SA, Muhr A, Ahmadi H (2014). Uplift of elastomeric bearings in isolated bridges-A possible mechanism: Effects and remediation. Proceedings of the 15th European conference on earthquake engineering, Istanbul.

Mitoulis SA, Argyroudis S, Kowalsky M (2015). Evaluation of the stiffness and damping of abutments to extend DDBD to the design of integral bridges. COMPDYN 2015, 5th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Crete.

Stanton JF, Roeder CW, Mackenzie-Helnwein P, White C, Kuester C and Craig B (2008). Rotation limits for elastomeric bearing. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report No. 596, Trans. Research Board, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Taskari O, Sextos A (2015). Probabilistic assessment of abutment-embankment stiffness and implications in the predicted performance of short bridges. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 19(5), 822-846.

Warn GP (2006). The coupled horizontal-vertical response of elastomeric and lead-rubber seismic isolation bearings. Ph.D. thesis, University at Buffalo.

Yang QR, Liu WG, He WF, Feng DM (2010). Tensile stiffness and deformation model of rubber isolators in tension and tension-shear states, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 136, 429-437.

Yura J, Kumar A, Yakut A, Topkaya C, Collingwood E (2001). Elastomeric bridge bearings: Recommended test methods. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report No. 449, Trans. Research Board, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Zhang J, Makris N (2002). Kinematic response functions and dynamic stiffnesses of bridge embankments. Earthquake Engineering Structural Dynamics, 31, 1933–1966.


  • There are currently no refbacks.