Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 149–164 | Cite as

Computational studies on the seismic response of the State Route 99 bridge in Seattle with SMA/ECC plastic hinges

  • Jiping Ge
  • M. Saiid Saiidi
  • Sebastian Varela
Research Article


This paper reports a computational study on the seismic response of a three-span highway bridge system incorporating conventional and novel substructure details for improved seismic performance. The bridge has three continuous spans supported by two single-column piers and integral abutments founded on drilled shafts. It will be the first full-scale highway bridge to use superelastic shape memory alloy bars (SMA) and engineered cementitious composite (ECC) to mitigate column plastic hinge damage and minimize residual displacements after a strong earthquake. A three-dimensional computational model capturing the nonlinear constitutive response of the novel materials and the effects of dynamic soil-structure interaction was developed to assess the seismic response of the bridge in finite-element software OpenSees. Two versions of the same bridge were analyzed and compared, one with conventional cast-in-place reinforced concrete columns, and the other with top plastic hinges incorporating Nickel-Titanium (NiTi) SMA reinforcing bars and ECC. The novel SMA/ECC plastic hinges were found to substantially reduce damage and post-earthquake residual displacements in the bridge substructure, but led to larger maximum drifts relative to the bridge with conventional reinforced concrete plastic hinges. The analysis results suggested that the novel plastic hinges could lead to improved post-earthquake serviceability of bridges after intense earthquakes.


seismic design analytical simulation near-fault earthquakes shape memory alloy engineered cementitious composite self-centering 


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This research was funded by the Washington Department of Transportation (WashDOT) contract number GCB1341 through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) program on Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD). However, the material and opinions presented in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of WashDOT or FHWA. Invaluable comments from Dr. Bijan Khaleghi and Mr. Jed Bingle of WashDOT were received. Additional funding was provided by Federal Highway Administration under Contract No. DTFH61-07-C-00031. The support of Dr. Philip Yen of FHWA is appreciated. The first author acknowledges the support provided by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Research Grant No. 51408360 during his stay at University of Nevada, Reno. The third author acknowledges Freese and Nichols, Inc. for providing partial sponsorship for his work in this article.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiping Ge
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Saiid Saiidi
    • 2
  • Sebastian Varela
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Urban Construction and Safety EngineeringShanghai Institute of TechnologyShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA
  3. 3.Structural Engineering GroupFreese and Nichols Inc.Fort WorthUSA

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