This paper examines the role of shear keys at bridge abutments in the seismic behavior of “ordinary” bridges. The seismic responses of bridges subjected to spatially uniform and spatially varying ground motions for three shear-key conditions—nonlinear shear keys that break off and cease to provide transverse restraint if deformed beyond a certain limit; elastic shear keys that do not break off and continue to provide transverse restraint throughout the ground shaking; and no shear keys—are examined. Results show that seismic demands for a bridge with nonlinear shear keys can generally be bounded by the demands of a bridge with elastic shear keys and a bridge with no shear keys for both types of ground motions. While ignoring shear keys provides conservative estimates of seismic demands in bridges subjected to spatially uniform ground motion, such a practice may lead to underestimation of some seismic demands in bridges in fault-rupture zones that are subjected to spatially varying ground motion. Therefore, estimating the upper bounds of seismic demands in bridges crossing fault-rupture zones requires analysis for two shear-key conditions: no shear keys and elastic shear keys.


Civil and Environmental Engineering



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cenv_fac/56