Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mostafa Tazarv


Lap splicing is not always the most economical or practical approach to achieve reinforcement bar continuity. Mechanical bar splices, or bar couplers, are one alternative that may be far more practical. Currently, the US codes do not allow for the use of bar couplers in the plastic hinge region for RC members in areas of high seismic activity. There has not been enough research into the couplers behavior when subjected to significant inelastic lateral deformations. The Lohr Structures Laboratory was used to conduct an experimental study on campus of South Dakota State University to evaluate the seismic performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns. The study was to design, build, and test eight half-scale precast bridge columns, one reference column and seven with various bar couplers. The reference column and the last three columns tested will be fully evaluated in this document. The first column was a cast-in-place (CIP) column to serve as a reference column, and the last three were precast columns containing various couplers located at the base of the columns (nVent Lenton Interlock couplers in PHV, nVent Lenton Ultimate PT15 Position couplers in PTV, and Headed Reinforcement Corp. HRC510XL couplers in PHH). Each of the four columns was subjected to the same slow cyclic loading. The loading was lateral and displacement-controlled, the loading started small and gradually increased. Compared to the displacement capacity of CIP, the precast columns PHV, PTV, and PHH experienced a reduction of 26.8%, 38.9%, and 3.4% respectively. The three precast columns all exceeded the current seismic requirements in the US and are therefore advocated for use nationwide. An analytical study was also done in an effort to verify one of the current mechanically spliced bridge column modeling methods. The modeling method was able to accurately produce force displacement relationships for CIP and the three precast models when compared to their measured test data. In conclusion, the modeling method was found to be adequate and is advised for the use of analysis and design for seismic couplers in bridge columns.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Columns, Concrete -- Earthquake effects -- Evaluation.
Precast concrete construction -- Earthquake effects -- Evaluation.
Reinforced concrete construction -- Earthquake effects -- Evaluation.
Concrete bridges -- Foundations and piers -- Earthquake effects -- Evaluation.
Earthquake resistant design.
Reinforcing bars.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright