Effect of abutment-backfill limit state definition on the assessment of seismic performance

Ioannis G. Mikes, Andreas J. Kappos, Agathoklis Giaralis

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Over the last decades, several performance-based design and assessment procedures for bridges under earthquake loading have been put forward. For assessing seismic performance, an appropriate definition of limit states is necessary. For bridges with seat-type abutments, the importance of limit states related to damage in the abutment-backfill system is often overlooked, partly due to the use of joint gaps that substantially exceed the expected design seismic displacement of the deck; nevertheless, gap closure may still occur for earthquakes stronger than the design one, with beneficial or detrimental impact on the bridge behaviour. Here, the important limit states of ‘operationality’ and ‘collapse prevention’ are defined using different criteria for the various bridge components, including the abutment-backfill system; for the latter, displacement-based criteria that express damage in the backfill and the shear keys and their effect on the entire bridge were used for the longitudinal and the transverse direction, respectively. The effect of the selected criteria which are subject to uncertainty was studied for a typical concrete overpass. Nonlinear dynamic analyses were conducted for different levels of seismic action and the results were used to evaluate the performance of the bridge in either direction using a range of values for the criteria related to the abutment-backfill system. It was found that the abutment-backfill based limit states could be critical for certain levels of ground motion with regard to both the ‘operationality’ and the ‘collapse prevention’ of the bridge.

Original languageBritish English
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure
StatePublished - 2022
Event3rd International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure, ICONHIC 2022 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 5 Jul 20227 Jul 2022


  • abutment
  • backfill
  • Bridges
  • limit state definition
  • seismic assessment


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of abutment-backfill limit state definition on the assessment of seismic performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this