Assessment of nonlinear seismic performance of a restored historical arch bridge using ambient vibrations

Sevim B., Bayraktar A., ALTUNIŞIK A. C., Atamturktur S., Birinci F.

NONLINEAR DYNAMICS, vol.63, no.4, pp.755-770, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11071-010-9835-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.755-770
  • Keywords: Ambient vibration testing, Historical arch bridge, Dynamic characteristics, Nonlinear earthquake behavior, Finite element modeling, Model calibration, Operational modal analysis, IDENTIFICATION
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Historic masonry arch bridges are vital components of transportation systems in many countries worldwide, ensuring the ready access of goods and services to millions of people. The structural failure of these historic structures would severely and adversely impact the economies of these nations due to the massive disruptions of transportation systems accompanying such failures. To successfully maintain these aging masonry structures, performance assessment must incorporate the unique mechanical characteristics of masonry. Therefore, the preferred analysis technique must go beyond a linear approach. This study assesses the earthquake performance of a restored historical masonry arch bridge through nonlinear finite element analysis incorporating the Drucker-Prager damage criterion. The case study structure is the Mikron Arch Bridge, a nineteenth century Ottoman Era structure built over the Firtina River near Rize, Turkey, and restored in 1998. The Mikron Arch Bridge was first subjected to ambient vibration testing, during which accelerometers were placed at several points on the bridge span to record the bridge vibratory response. The investigators then used Enhanced Frequency Domain Decomposition and Stochastic Subspace Identification techniques to extract the experimental natural frequencies, mode shapes, and damping ratios from these measurements. Experimental results were compared with those obtained by the linear finite element analysis of the bridge. Good agreement between mode shapes was observed during this comparison, though natural frequencies disagree by 8-10%. The boundary conditions of the linear finite element model of Mikron Arch Bridge are adjusted such that the analytical predictions agree with the ambient vibration test results. By introducing the Drucker-Prager damage criterion, the calibrated linear FE model was next extended into a nonlinear model. Nonlinear analysis of seismic behavior of Mikron arch bridge was performed considering the acceleration record of Erzincan earthquake in 1992 that occurred near the Mikron Bridge region. The displacement and stress results were observed to be allowable level of the stone material. Moreover, linear FE model calibrations elicited a significant influence on the nonlinear FE model simulations.