Is Additive Construction Ready for Seismic Regions? – A New Seismic Protective System Enabled by Additive Construction

I.M. Mantawy, H. Fahroud, A.K. Mackin
Rowan University,
United States

Keywords: digital fabrication, additive construction, 3D printing, topology optimization, sustainability


Conventional design for bridges in seismic-prone areas relies on ductility concept by concentrating the damage at plastic hinges at the ends of the col-umns. Even though constructing bridges with this design concept is adequate for life safety, the bridge columns exhibit significant damage and residual deformations resulting in expensive repairs or need for full replacement. Over the last decades, researchers developed several seismic protective sys-tems to minimize the damage and enable repair after strong earthquakes. Sys-tems include rocking systems, dampers, and seismic isolation systems. New novel ideas emerged to adapt new concepts such as “rocking columns” with accelerated bridge construction techniques to enhance construction quality, speed construction, and even enable repairs using external rein-forcement or damping systems. The new innovative system proposed by the presenters integrates several seismic protective concepts to achieve self-repair and deconstruction through additive construction of the entire bent substructure. In this proposed system, protected elements such as bridge bent caps, columns and footings are additively constructed. In addition, the col-umns are designed to rocks at interfaces between the columns and bent cap/footing and external elements are added to dissipate energy to enable self-repairing. The presentation will include a description of numerical and experimental results from a small-scale specimen tested under seismic excita-tions at Rowan University’s Additive and Robotic Construction Laboratory (ARC-Lab).