Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Effect of Load Path on Damage to Concrete Bridge Piers



A W. Taylor, A El-Bahy, William C. Stone, S K. Kunnath


In earthquake engineering studies of reinforced concrete (RC) bridge columns, a controlled, cyclic lateral load pattern with gradually increasing amplitude has traditionally been applied to laboratory test specimens. However, in actual earthquakes bridge columns are exposed to random cyclic lateral loading patterns, which are much different from typical laboratory loading patterns. Current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) design provisions are based almost entirely on tests in which traditional, controlled laboratory loading patterns have been applied. The differences in the effects of these types of loading have never been explored systematically. In this study both types of loading (controlled, cyclic lateral loads, and random earthquake type loads) were applied to a series of twelve nominally identical, one-fourth scale circular, cantilever columns, and the differences in observed damage were studied. In this paper the experimental results are briefly summarized, and preliminary findings are discussed.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 904
Report Number


bridges (structures), bridge columns, building technology, damage modeling, earthquake engineering, laboratory testing, random loading, reinforced concretes


Taylor, A. , El-Bahy, A. , Stone, W. and Kunnath, S. (1996), Effect of Load Path on Damage to Concrete Bridge Piers, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created August 1, 1996, Updated November 10, 2018