1 W Packer Ave, Bethlehem, PA 18015

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We invite you to join us for a guest lecture titled "Are Earthquake Proof Bridges Possible?  Current Progress and Future Prospects" presented by Dr. Bora Gencturk, Associate Professor in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California.  Dr. Gencturk is also the Director of the Structures and Materials Research Laboratory (SMRL) at the University of Southern California.  


Date:  Thursday, August 31, 2023

Time:  4:30 p.m.

Location:  STEPS 101, 1 W. Packer Ave., Belthlehem, PA 18015


Lecture will be in person.  Please feel free to share this announcement with any colleagues who may be interested.



The vulnerability of bridges to ground shaking has been documented after every major earthquake. Among all the bridge components, the traditional design approach uses the columns (piers) as the energy absorbing members. However, this results in excessive damage to columns, which disrupts the post-earthquake functionality of the bridge. Even moderate levels of damage to columns may result in permanent movement of the super structures and render the whole bridge dysfunctional. In this presentation, the prospect of using a new column design approach which replaces the conventional steel reinforcement with shape memory alloys (SMAs) in the plastic hinge region will be presented. SMAs, which can recover inelastic deformation upon removal of stress, have emerged in the last decade as a potential alternative to steel reinforcement in concrete structures. The use of SMAs to replace plastic hinge steel reinforcement has been shown to improve the seismic performance of bridge columns. However, there are still numerous practical challenges to move this approach from laboratory to real life. To name a few, temperature dependence, corrosion and low-cycle fatigue resistance, and machinability and coupling with traditional steel reinforcement are the most outstanding issues. Dr. Gencturk’s research group has been working on various SMA compositions and investigating both material characteristics and implementations in bridges over the last 12 years. This presentation will cover the progress made to-date and the remaining challenges that lie ahead.


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