Bridge isolation and dissipation devices: state of the art review of seismic reponse and modelling of modern seismic isolation and dissipation devices

Student: Chiara Casarotti
Supervisors: Dr Rui Pinho, Prof. Gian Michele Calvi


The basic principle of conventional earthquake-resistant design is to ensure an acceptable safety level while avoiding catastrophic failures and loss of life. When a structure does not collapse during a major earthquake, and the occupants can evacuate safely, it is considered that this structure has fulfilled its function even though it may never be functional again. Generally, this approach can be considered adequate for most types of structures. However for important structures, safer methods are required, while keeping economic factors in mind. For example, avoiding collapse is not sufficient for facilities that must remain functional immediately after an earthquake: hospitals, police stations, communication centers, strategically located bridges, and so on. Over the last 20 years, a large amount of research has been conducted into developing innovative earthquake-resistant systems in order to raise the safety level while keeping construction costs reasonable. Most of these systems are intended to dissipate the seismic energy introduced into the structure by supplemental damping mechanisms and/or to isolate the main structural elements from receiving this energy through isolation systems.

Keywords: isolation, dissipation, bridge devices, bearings, dampers, isolators.

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