Seismic Energy Dissipation in Bridges with Air Springs


1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

2 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

3 Department of Civil Engineering, Sharif University of Technology P.O.Box 11365-9313, Tehran, Iran


Seismic loads on bridges may cause large damaging forces in the substructure. Isolation and energy dissipating elements or a combination of the two have been used to reduce the transmitted forces caused by seismic loading. The benefits of these systems are mainly attributed to the increase of structure’s natural period of vibration and damping. This paper investigates a new device that works on the same principles. This device is composed of sliding bearings and air springs or airbags. Several bridges are analyzed using the Nishimura’s model for air springs and the sensitivity of seismic response of bridges due to variable spring parameters is investigated and optimum values are obtained. Then, using these parameters for the air spring and solving the equation of motion the variation of air spring internal parameters with time are investigated. Results show that air springs are very efficient in reducing the effects of seismic forces.