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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Rebecca Milano

Northampton Bridge Fragility Analysis

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Shamim Pakzad

View: UGRS Research Poster (PDF)

While earthquakes are not as large a hazard in the Pennsylvania area, with many large open spaces, extreme wind loading can be a large force that affects structures.  For preexisting structures like the North Hampton Bridge that connects Phillipsburg, New Jersey to Easton, Pennsylvania, it’s important for engineers to understand the amount of wind loading that the structure can withstand.  By creating a fragility analysis curve, the probability that the structure’s capacity for a certain limit state can stand up to the load placed on it, one can understand the how the wind loading will affect the structure.  Through the use of OpenSees and SAP 2000, a code that varies based on the wind speed input was built that records the bridge’s midspan displacement.  After the statistical properties of the uncertain parameters, such as base pressure, attacking angle, and performance thresholds, are properly characterized, a MatLab code can be created that runs the model using normally distributed samples of uncertain parameters.  Through this code, a fragility curve can be generated that shows how the structure reacts to the wind loading.

About Rebecca Milano:
Rebecca is a senior civil engineer at Lehigh University.  Rebecca is very interested in structural engineering, specifically the application of structural concrete.  She has done research with Doctor Pakzad in the areas of Two Dimensional Image Correlation and Fragility Analysis.  She will be attending graduate school in the upcoming year, either to pursue her Masters of Science or Masters of Engineering in structural engineering.