The earthquake that jolted Kobe, Japan, resulted in a phenomenal number of steel bearings failures in bridges. The apparent vulnerability of conventional steel bearings has led bridge experts to question whether these structures should be upgraded with isolator bearings. Such bearings would add flexibility, lengthening the bridge's period of vibration, thereby reducing induced forces. Some argue, though, that increasing the vibration period also increases the amount of displacement. This article provides an overview of this retrofit technique and highlights recent research projects in St. Louis, New York, Indiana, and New Hampshire that demonstrate the use of seismic isolation. A sidebar describes an extensive testing program to evaluate the effectiveness of seismic isolation.


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  • Accession Number: 00715386
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 21 1996 12:00AM