Probabilistic Capacity Models and Fragility Estimates for Reinforced Concrete Columns Incorporating NDT Data Academic Article uri icon


  • Knowing the ability of reinforced concrete (RC) bridges to withstand future seismic demands during their life-cycle can help bridge owners make rational decisions regarding optimal allocation of resources for maintenance, repair, and/or rehabilitation of bridge systems. The accuracy of a reliability assessment can be improved by incorporating information about the current aging and deterioration conditions of a bridge. Nondestructive testing (NDT) can be used to evaluate the actual conditions of a bridge, avoiding the use of deterioration models that bring additional uncertainties in the reliability assessment. This paper develops probabilistic deformation and shear capacity models for RC bridge columns that incorporate information obtained from NDT. The proposed models can be used when the flexural stiffness decays nonuniformly over a column height. The flexural stiffness of a column is estimated based on measured acceleration responses using a system identification method and the damage index method. As an application of the proposed models, a case study assesses the fragility (the conditional probability of attaining or exceeding a specified capacity level) of the column in the Lavic Road Overcrossing for a given deformation or shear demand. This two-span concrete box-girder bridge located in Southern California was subject to the Hector Mine Earthquake in 1999. Pre- and postearthquake estimates of the univariate shear and deformation fragilities and of the bivariate shear-deformation fragility are computed and compared. Both displacement and shear capacities are found to decrease after the earthquake event. Additionally, the results show that the damage due to the Hector Mine Earthquake has a larger impact on the shear capacity than the deformation capacity, leading to a more significant increment in the shear fragility than in the deformation fragility. 2009 ASCE.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Huang, Q., Gardoni, P., & Hurlebaus, S.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Huang, Qindan||Gardoni, Paolo||Hurlebaus, Stefan

publication date

  • November 2009