A study on sensitivity of seismic site amplification factors to site conditions for bridges
Seismic site amplification factors and seismic design spectra for bridges are influenced by site conditions that include geotechnical properties of soil strata as well as the geological setting. All modern seismic design codes recognize this fact and assign design spectral shapes based on site conditions or specify a 2-parameter model with site amplification factors as a function of site class, seismic intensity and vibration period (short and long). Design codes made a number of assumptions related to the site conditions while specifying the values of short (Fa) and long period (Fv) site amplification factors. Making these assumptions was necessary due to vast variation in site properties and limited availability of actual strong motion records on all site conditions and seismic setting in a region. This paper conducted a sensitivity analysis for site amplification factors for site classes C and D in the AASHTO bridge design code by performing a 1-D site response analysis in which values of site parameters like strata depth, travel-time averaged shear wave velocity in the top 30 m strata (Vs30), plasticity index (PI), impedance contrast ratio (ICR) and intensity of seismic ground motion were varied. The results were analyzed to identify the site parameters that impacted Fa and Fv values for site classes C and D. The computed Fa and Fv values were compared with the corresponding values in the AASHTO bridge design code and it was found that the code-based Fa and Fv values were generally underestimated and overestimated respectively.
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