High Strength Steel Reinforcement in Critical Regions of Earthquake Resistant Bridges

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is considering implementing American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) A706 Grade 80 steel reinforcement for seismic applications. A planned research project aims to characterize the stress strain response of Grade 80 steel such that it may be used for design. Grade 80 and ASTM A1035 reinforcement are now allowed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LFRD) Specifications to reinforce regions of members that are capacity designed, that is, where plastic hinging will not develop. A reason for not allowing these higher strength reinforcements in regions of bridges where plastic hinges will develop during an earthquake is the knowledge-gap that exists about the cyclic response, of its low-cycle fatigue and tensile development characteristics. The purpose of this research would be to close this knowledge-gap and develop guidelines for capacity protected members constructed using ASTM A 706 Grade 80 steel.