Mechanically Spliced Precast Bridge Columns

Mechanical bar splices, which are commonly referred to as bar couplers, have been utilized mainly in laboratories to connect precast columns to footings or cap beams. Nevertheless, bar couplers are currently banned in seismic bridge design codes for the incorporating in the plastic hinge regions of either cast-in-place or precast columns. This is mainly because the coupler behavior and the seismic performance of mechanically spliced columns are largely unknown. A recent study at South Dakota State University attacked the first problem by testing more than 160 bar couplers including nine products from six manufacturers, and established a comprehensive database of the coupler behavior. Furthermore, they proposed standard test methods to systematically quantify the coupler performance and also proposed acceptance criteria for couplers to be incorporated in bridge columns. The acceptable mechanical bar splices were categorized as "seismic couplers". Nevertheless, test data regarding the performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns is scarce and the available data is for columns with different geometries, confinement levels, and testing procedures. To better understand the seismic performance of mechanically spliced bridge columns, testing of large-scale precast columns spliced with different bar couplers is proposed. Establishing a comprehensive precast column experimental database will allow to verify or further modify the current design methods and might provide a justification to relax current coupler ban for bridge columns. Furthermore, the experimental study will identify new and feasible detailing for mechanically spliced precast columns to promote the accelerated bridge construction for bents.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $427335
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Tolliver, Denver

  • Performing Organizations:

    South Dakota State University

    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Brookings, SD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Tazarv, Mostafa

    Wehbe, Nadim

  • Start Date: 20190411
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220731
  • Actual Completion Date: 20220427
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-595

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01701889
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747108
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Apr 16 2019 3:10PM