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Project Details

Title:Mechanically Spliced Precast Bridge Columns
Principal Investigators:Mostafa Tazarv and Nadim Wehbe
University:South Dakota State University
Grant #:69A3551747108 (FAST Act)
Project #:MPC-595
RH Display ID:151110
Keywords:bridge construction, bridge design, columns, couplers, earthquake resistant design, feasibility analysis, precast concrete, splicing, structural connection


Mechanical bar splices, which are commonly referred to as bar couplers, have been utilized mainly in laboratories to connect precast columns to footings or cap beams. Nevertheless, bar couplers are currently banned in seismic bridge design codes for the incorporating in the plastic hinge regions of either cast-in-place or precast columns. This is mainly because the coupler behavior and the seismic performance of mechanically spliced columns are largely unknown. A recent study at South Dakota State University attacked the first problem by testing more than 160 bar couplers including nine products from six manufacturers, and established a comprehensive database of the coupler behavior. Furthermore, they proposed standard test methods to systematically quantify the coupler performance and also proposed acceptance criteria for couplers to be incorporated in bridge columns. The acceptable mechanical bar splices were categorized as "seismic couplers". Nevertheless, test data regarding the performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns is scarce and the available data is for columns with different geometries, confinement levels, and testing procedures. To better understand the seismic performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns, testing of large-scale precast columns spliced with different bar couplers is proposed. Establishing a comprehensive precast column experimental database will allow to verify or further modify the current design methods and might provide a justification to relax current coupler ban for bridge columns. Furthermore, the experimental study will identify new and feasible detailing for mechanically spliced precast columns to promote the accelerated bridge construction for bents.

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NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050