Integral abutment bridges: Investigation of seismic soil-structure interaction effects by shaking table testing

Gabriele Fiorentino, Cihan Cengiz, Flavia De Luca, George Mylonakis, Dimitris Karamitros, Matt Dietz, Luiza Dihoru, Davide Lavorato, Bruno Briseghella, Tatjana Isakovic, Christos Vrettos, Antonio Topa Gomes, Anastasios Sextos, Camillo Nuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In recent years there has been renewed interest on integral abutment bridges (IABs), mainly due to their low construction and maintenance cost. Owing to the monolithic connection between deck and abutments, there is strong soil-structure interaction between the bridge and the backfill under both thermal action and earthquake shaking. Although some of the regions where IABs are adopted qualify as highly seismic, there is limited knowledge as to their dynamic behaviour and vulnerability under strong ground shaking. To develop a better understanding on the seismic behaviour of IABs, an extensive experimental campaign involving over 75 shaking table tests and 4800 time histories of recorded data, was carried out at EQUALS Laboratory, University of Bristol, under the auspices of EU-sponsored SERA project (Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Alliance for Europe). The tests were conducted on a 5 m long shear stack mounted on a 3 m × 3 m 6-DOF earthquake simulator, focusing on interaction effects between a scaled bridge model, abutments, foundation piles and backfill soil. The study aims at (a) developing new scaling procedures for physical modelling of IABs, (b) investigating experimentally the potential benefits of adding compressible inclusions (CIs) between the abutment and the backfill and (c) exploring the influence of different types of connection between the abutment and the pile foundation. Results indicate that the CI reduces the accelerations on the bridge deck and the settlements in the backfill, while disconnecting piles from the cap decreases bending near the pile head.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1517-1538
Number of pages22
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2021


  • compressible inclusion
  • integral abutment bridges
  • pile-to-cap connection
  • shaking table testing
  • soil structure interaction


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