Students’ Project

Bridge Columns

Sean McGuiness and Zachary Quesnel worked with Dr. Christopher Motter and Dr. Adam Phillips on a research project to study the deformation capacity of circular reinforced concrete bridge columns seismically retrofitted with steel jackets. Many in-service bridges in western Washington were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s and have retrofitted columns. The steel jacket significantly enhances the deformation capacity of the column, with failure occurring due to fatigue of longitudinal reinforcement. While previous research has primarily focused on shorter-duration strike-slip earthquakes, this research is focused on characterizing column deformation capacity under long-duration earthquakes characteristic of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ). Sean is conducting an experimental program focused on column behavior, while Zach is focused on characterizing the fatigue behavior of longitudinal column reinforcement. Test results are being used to calibrate column models used to make predictions of bridge column fragility under CSZ demands. Research results will better inform decisions made by WSDOT regarding bridge column retrofit.