The scope of this study is to investigate the effect of the direction of seismic excitation on the fragility of an already constructed, 99-m-long, three-span highway overpass. First, the investigation is performed at a component level, quantifying the sensitivity of local damage modes of individual bridge components (namely, piers, bearings, abutments, and footings) to the direction of earthquake excitation. The global vulnerability at the system level is then assessed for a given angle of incidence of the earthquake ground motion to provide a single-angle, multi-damage probabilistic estimate of the bridge overall performance. A multi-angle, multi-damage, vulnerability assessment methodology is then followed, assuming uniform distribution for the angle of incidence of seismic waves with respect to the bridge axis. The above three levels of investigation highlight that the directivity of ground motion excitation may have a significant impact on the fragility of the individual bridge components, which shall not be a priori neglected. Most importantly, depending on the assumptions made for the component to the system level transition, this local sensitivity is often suppressed. It may be therefore necessary, based on the ultimate purpose of the vulnerability or the life cycle analysis, to obtain a comprehensive insight on the multiple damage potential of all individual structural and foundation components under multi-angle excitation, to quantify the statistical correlation among the distinct damage modes and to identify the components that are both most critical and sensitive to the direction of ground motion and carefully define their limit states which control the predicted bridge fragility.
- Direction of seismic excitation
- Inelastic analysis
- Seismic fragility