Experimental validation of high-performance hybrid bridge piers
An appreciation of the crucial need for a high level of performance from reinforced concrete structures located in seismically active regions has been extensively recognised in the past decade. Appropriate performance-based criteria are essential in ensuring the desired behaviour of structures, especially when a low level of postearthquake damage is desired. “Hybrid” jointed ductile connections originally developed for either pre-cast concrete frames and wall systems have been shown to exhibit superior performance complemented with a reduced level of damage and negligible residual deformations of the structural systems. These innovative advanced systems, consisting of relatively simple construction methods (based on post-tensioning techniques), have been recently proposed to be adopted in bridge piers and systems as a viable and highly competitive alternative to traditional monolithic cast-in-place construction. The present work reports on the experimental validation into the performance of hybrid bridge pier systems in a cantilever configuration (pier to foundation connection). The response of a single hybrid solution, tested under a uni-directional quasi-static testing regime is compared against a monolithic benchmark. Analytical-experimental comparisons are also carried out to validate and further refine simplified procedures, previously presented in literature and available in code-design provisions, to predict the cyclic behaviour of jointed connections.