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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 6310321, 13 pages
Research Article

Impact of Plastic Hinge Properties on Capacity Curve of Reinforced Concrete Bridges

1Civil Engineering Department, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
3The Hashemite University of Jordan, Zarqa, Jordan

Correspondence should be addressed to Nasim Shatarat

Received 15 February 2017; Revised 16 May 2017; Accepted 6 June 2017; Published 16 August 2017

Academic Editor: Jun Liu

Copyright © 2017 Nasim Shatarat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pushover analysis is becoming recently the most practical tool for nonlinear analysis of regular and irregular highway bridges. The nonlinear behaviour of structural elements in this type of analysis can be modeled through automated-hinge or user-defined hinge models. The nonlinear properties of the user-defined hinge model for existing highway bridges can be determined in accordance with the recommendations of the Seismic Retrofit Manual by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA-SRM). Finite element software such as the software SAP2000 offers a simpler and easier approach to determine the nonlinear hinge properties through the automated-hinge model which are determined automatically from the member material and cross section properties. However, the uncertainties in using the automated-hinge model in place of user-defined hinge model have never been addressed, especially for existing and widened bridges. In response to this need, pushover analysis was carried out for four old highway bridges, of which two were widened using the same superstructure but with more attention to seismic detailing requirements. The results of the analyses showed noticeable differences in the capacity curves obtained utilizing the user-defined and automated-hinge models. The study recommends that bridge design manuals clearly ask bridge designers to evaluate the deformation capacities of existing bridges and widened bridges using user-defined hinge model that is determined in accordance with the provisions of the FHWA-SRM.