This study investigated retrofitting measures for improving the seismic performance of rectangular columns in existing bridges. Experimental tests were conducted on 0.4-scale column specimens which incorporated details that were selected to represent deficiencies present in older bridges in Washington State. Two unretrofitted specimens were tested to examine the performance of the as-built columns incorporating lap splices at the base of the columns and deficient transverse reinforcement. Five columns were retrofitted with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite wrapping and one specimen was retrofitted with a steel jacket. The specimens were subjected to increasing levels of cycled lateral displacements under constant axial load. Specimen performance was evaluated based on failure mode, displacement ductility capacity and hysteretic behavior.
For retrofitting of rectangular columns, it is recommended that oval-shaped jackets be used whenever possible. Column specimens with oval-shaped jackets of steel and CFRP composite material performed similarly, both producing ductile column performance. Failure in these specimens was due to flexural hinging in the gap region between the footing and retrofit jacket, leading to eventual low-cycle fatigue fracture of the longitudinal reinforcement. Details and procedures for the design of oval-shaped steel jackets are provided in FHWA Seismic Retrofitting Manual for Highway Bridges (2006). Design guidelines for oval-shaped CFRP jackets are given in ACTT-95/08 (Seible et al., 1995). Oval-shaped jackets designed according to these recommendations can be expected to prevent slippage of lapped bars within the retrofitted region.
Design guidelines for rectangular-shaped retrofitting using CFRP composite materials are proposed for application to columns with cross-section aspect ratios of 2 or less. While no slippage of the lap splice was observed, it is conservatively recommended that rectangular-shaped CFRP wrapping be used only for the situation where controlled debonding of the lap splice is acceptable.