Seismic performance of bridges with rubber bearings: Lessons learnt from the 1999 Chi-Chi Taiwan earthquake

Chih Hung Lu, Kuang Yen Liu, Kuo Chun Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In 1999, the Chi-Chi earthquake caused tremendous loss in infrastructure systems and caused severe damage to bridge structures. However, a large number of bridges experienced only minor damage and there has been little discussion of the performance of those bridges. This study is to discuss the damage to bridge bearing systems based on field investigations and numerical analyses. This article draws a qualitative description of the performance and the failure modes of highway bridges during the Chi-Chi earthquake. It is concluded that the sliding mechanism of rubber bearings played an important role in limiting the seismic load transmitted to the bridge columns. In order to demonstrate this phenomenon, a nonlinear finite element model of the Yen-Feng bridge was developed to simulate its seismic performance during the Chi-Chi earthquake. The analytical results were compared with the observed damage. Parametric studies were then conducted by utilizing two kinds of bearing conditions and three friction coefficients on the rubber bearings to explain why similar bridges experienced different levels of damage during the earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-904
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Chinese Institute of Engineers, Transactions of the Chinese Institute of Engineers,Series A
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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