The project explores the feasibility of the concept of the Dynamic Intelligent Bridge (DIB), a bridge with improved performance under major natural hazards. The basic idea of the DIB is that varying the way a bridge is supported at its ends can lead to an improved structural performance under dynamic loadings, such as strong earthquakes or strong winds-hurricanes.
The specific goal is to substitute current bridge joints that have a fixed width with variable-width joints, which initially can be either closed or open depending on their length and the serviceability requirements, while under extreme dynamic loading their width is optimized either with a one-off adjustment, or continuously through a special control system. In all cases, a novel device is used that permits this improved behavior of the joints, the moveable shear key (MSK), a device for blocking the movement of the bridge deck, which is not permanently fixed to the seat of the abutment (like the standard shear keys) but can slide, hence opening a previously closed gap or closing an existing gap between the deck and the abutment.
This project is a feasibility study of the above idea, focusing on the effect of gap size, to explore how significantly it can affect the response quantities of the abutments and the piers, and also assess the forces that are expected in the MSKs during extreme dynamic loads; these are also studied in a life-cycle cost framework, to assess the economic feasibility of the proposed solutions.