Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 611–623 | Cite as

Effects of seismic devices on transverse responses of piers in the Sutong Bridge

  • Xing Shen
  • Alfredo Camara
  • Aijun Ye


The Sutong Bridge in China opened to traffic in 2008, and is an arterial connection between the cities of Nantong and Suzhou. It is a cable-stayed bridge with a main span of 1,088 m. Due to a tight construction schedule and lack of suitable seismic devices at the time, fixed supports were installed between the piers and the girder in the transverse direction. As a result, significant transverse seismic forces could occur in the piers and foundations, especially during a return period of a 2500-year earthquake. Therefore, the piers, foundations and fixed bearings had to be designed extraordinarily strong. However, when larger earthquakes occur, the bearings, piers and foundations are still vulnerable. The recent rapid developments in seismic technology and the performance-based design approach offer a better opportunity to optimize the transverse seismic design for the Sutong Bridge piers. The optimized design can be applied to the Sutong Bridge (as a retrofit), as well as other bridges. Seismic design alternatives utilizing viscous fluid dampers (VFD), or friction pendulum sliding bearings (FPSB), or transverse yielding metallic dampers (TYMD) are thoroughly studied in this work, and the results are compared with those from the current condition with fixed transverse supports and a hypothetical condition in which only sliding bearings are provided on top of the piers (the girder can move “freely” in the transverse direction during the earthquake, except for frictional forces of the sliding bearings). Parametric analyses were performed to optimize the design of these proposed seismic devices. From the comparison of the peak bridge responses in these configurations, it was found that both VFD and TYMD are very effective in the reduction of transverse seismic forces in piers, while at the same time keeping the relative transverse displacements between piers and the box girder within acceptable limits. However, compared to VFD, TYMD do not interact with the longitudinal displacements of the girder, and have simpler details and lower initial and maintenance costs. Although the use of FPSB can also reduce seismic forces, it generally causes the transverse relative displacements to be higher than acceptable limits.


Sutong Bridge cable-stayed bridge seismic devices transverse response bridge piers viscous fluid dampers (VFD) friction pendulum sliding bearings (FPSB) transverse yielding metallic dampers (TYMD) 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Disaster Reduction in Civil EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and EngineeringCity UniversityLondonUK

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