Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mostafa Tazarv


accelerated bridge construction, mechanical bar splices, pushover analysis, rigid length factor, seismic performance


Mechanical bar splicing is an alternative method of connecting reinforcing bars in concrete structures compared to conventional lap splicing mainly to reduce bar congestion in joints. Recently, mechanical bar splices, which are also referred to as bar couplers, have been used to connect precast members to accelerate construction of concrete bridges and buildings. Current codes prohibit the use of couplers in the plastic hinge regions of bridge columns in high seismic zones. This may be because of a lack of systematic test data on the coupler performance, limited experimental studies on mechanically spliced bridge columns, and an engineering precaution. The present experimental and analytical study was performed to (1) generate the first-of-it-kind database of the bar coupler performance, (2) quantify the coupler stress-strain relationship, and (3) quantify the seismic performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns. All manufacturers of mechanical bar splices in the Unites States were contacted to collect test samples, nine different coupler products were selected, and more than 160 mechanical bar splices were tested under uniaxial monotonic and cyclic loading to failure. Properties of the couplers were established, and a coupler material model adopted from the literature was verified. Furthermore, a parametric study was carried out to investigate the seismic performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns utilizing the verified coupler models. More than 240 pushover analyses were performed. It was found that columns with couplers have up to 40% lower displacement ductility capacity compared to conventional RC columns and the force capacity of these columns is slightly higher than the RC columns. Columns with more rigid and longer couplers will show the lowest displacement capacities.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Reinforcing bars.
Columns, Concrete -- Design and construction.
Concrete bridges -- Foundations and piers -- Design and construction.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright