Adaptive Reliability Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Bridges Using Nondestructive Testing



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There has been increasing interest in evaluating the performance of existing reinforced concrete (RC) bridges just after natural disasters or man-made events especially when the defects are invisible, or in quantifying the improvement after rehabilitations. In order to obtain an accurate assessment of the reliability of a RC bridge, it is critical to incorporate information about its current structural properties, which reflects the possible aging and deterioration. This dissertation proposes to develop an adaptive reliability analysis of RC bridges incorporating the damage detection information obtained from nondestructive testing (NDT). In this study, seismic fragility is used to describe the reliability of a structure withstanding future seismic demand. It is defined as the conditional probability that a seismic demand quantity attains or exceeds a specified capacity level for given values of earthquake intensity. The dissertation first develops a probabilistic capacity model for RC columns and the capacity model can be used when the flexural stiffness decays nonuniformly over a column height. Then, a general methodology to construct probabilistic seismic demand models for RC highway bridges with one single-column bent is presented. Next, a combination of global and local NDT methods is proposed to identify in-place structural properties. The global NDT uses the dynamic responses of a structure to assess its global/equivalent structural properties and detect potential damage locations. The local NDT uses local measurements to identify the local characteristics of the structure. Measurement and modeling errors are considered in the application of the NDT methods and the analysis of the NDT data. Then, the information obtained from NDT is used in the probabilistic capacity and demand models to estimate the seismic fragility of the bridge. As an illustration, the proposed probabilistic framework is applied to a reinforced concrete bridge with a one-column bent. The result of the illustration shows that the proposed framework can successfully provide the up-to-date structural properties and accurate fragility estimates.