Approximate method for transverse response analysis of partially isolated bridges

Gaetano Della Corte*, Raffaele De Risi, Luigi Di Sarno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Current analysis procedures for seismically isolated bridges frequently use an equivalent (approximate) linearization approach to represent the response of nonlinear isolation/energy dissipation devices. Linearization allows standard linear elastic analysis methods, e.g., the response spectrum method, to be conveniently used for design purposes. The linearization approach is by nature an iterative method implying the need to repeatedly correct and analyze a numerical finite-element model. A further simplification could be achieved using closed form equations to represent (1) the structure displacement patterns and (2) the restoring forces from structural elements. The paper explores such a possibility with reference to partially isolated continuous bridges, i.e., bridges with isolation devices at piers and pinned supports at abutments. The role and effect of higher modes of vibration on the system response are discussed, and an approximate method is proposed to account for such effects. An improvement of the classical Jacobsen's approximation for the effective viscous damping ratio is also proposed using the results of response history analyses. The latter are carried out on two-dimensional numerical models of five case studies, generated from a real existing bridge supposed to be isolated with friction pendulum devices. Comparison of approximate predictions with response history analysis results is presented and discussed. Nonlinear dynamic analyses of a three-dimensional numerical model of the existing bridge were also carried out for comparison purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1130
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bridge Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Bridges
  • Design
  • Energy dissipation
  • Isolation
  • Linearization
  • Seismic response


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