Seismic Behavior of Wharves

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national Science Foundation NEESR-GC


Abdollah Shafieezadeh

Earthquakes pose a significant threat to many large U.S. seaports which serve as critical gateways for international trade. Considering the fact that disruption in port activities may lead to significant direct and indirect losses, seismic performance evaluation and retrofit of ports is quite essential. Current engineering practice for seismic risk reduction for port facilities is typically based on design or retrofit criteria for individual components expressed in terms of arbitrary levels of force and/or displacement. Seismic risk analysis on the other hand provides a framework through which both economical issues and system performance can be taken into account and the performance of the port can be seen as a whole. The aim of this research is developing different elements involved in seismic risk analysis of a typical pile supported wharf. A number of the objectives are outlined in the following.

  1. Developing a systematic procedure for the numerical simulation of a soil-foundation-wharf system by incorporating realistic representations of different components. The modeling procedure will consider nonlinear behavior of pile elements, nonlinear force-deformation characteristics of pile-deck connections, and nonlinear dynamic pile-soil interactions in liquefaction susceptible soil.
  2. Assessing the seismic performance of the wharf for a number of earthquake scenarios and evaluating different failure mechanisms in piles and pile-deck connections.
  3. Studying the dynamic interaction between wharves and cranes both qualitatively and quantitatively. Simplified crane models will be developed and their performance will be evaluated and compared with full crane models.
  4. Developing component and system level fragility curves of pile supported wharves for 60 earthquake scenarios representing a wide range of hazard levels from low to high.

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Publications and Presentations

Shafieezadeh, A., DesRoches, R., Werner, S.D., Rix, G.J.,2009, Seismic Response of Pile-Supported Container Wharves.  Proceedings of the ASCE Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Conference, Oakland, California.

Werner, S.D., DesRoches, R., Rix, G.J., Shafieezadeh, A., Fragility Models for Container Cargo Wharves. Proceedings of the ASCE Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Conference, Oakland, California.

Shafieezadeh, A., DesRoches, R., 2010, Simplification of 3D Wharf Models for Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis. EERI 62nd annual meeting, San Francisco, California