Some issues in seismic analysis and design of wharves

Student: Raffaele Pasquali
Supervisors: Dr. Carlo G. Lai & Dr. Mirko Corigliano


During past decades, a number of ports worldwide have suffered extensive damage due to earthquakes. As ports play a key role in the economy of many countries, target performances of port structures need to be clearly identified and reliably achieved. On the other hand, some typical and peculiar problems have often been observed, e.g. liquefaction of reclaimed areas, seaward displacement of gravity wharves with settlement of the apron, failure of pile-deck connections of pile-supported wharves, crane failures.

Focusing on wharves in the Italian scenario, an overview of existing structures is made, leading to a ranking of the most commonly used structural typologies. For the most significant ones, a deeper investigation is carried out, performing both an assessment of a real structure in the Port of Ancona, and a parametric study to cover the range of interest in practical application. An alternative solution is investigated, based on the application of seismic isolation to pile supported wharves.

Keywords: port structures; wharves; quay walls; cranes; seismic isolation; seismic analysis and design.