Finite element analysis of reinforced concrete bridge piers including a flexure-shear interaction model

Alessandro Rasulo*, Angelo Pelle, Davide Lavorato, Gabriele Fiorentino, Camillo Nuti, Bruno Briseghella

*Corresponding author for this work

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

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the seismic behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) bridge structures, focusing on the shear-flexure interaction phenomena. The assessment of reinforced concrete bridges under seismic action needs the ability to model the effective non-linear response in order to identify the relevant failure modes of the structure. Existing RC bridges have been conceived according to old engineering practices and codes, lacking the implementation of capacity design principles, and therefore can exhibit premature shear failures with a reduction of available strength and ductility. In particular, recent studies have shown that the shear strength can decrease with the increase of flexural damage after the development of plastic hinges and, in some cases, this can cause unexpected shear failures in the plastic branch with a consequent reduction of ductility. The aim of the research is to implement those phenomena in a finite-element analysis. The proposed model consists of a flexure fiber element coupled with a shear and a rotational slip spring. The model has been implemented in the OpenSEES framework and calibrated against experimental data, showing a good ability to capture the overall response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2209
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Bridge structures
  • Collapse modes
  • Finite element analysis
  • Flexure-shear failure
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Seismic assessment


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