The 2011 Tohuku tsunami on the east coast of Japan resulted in killing more than 15,000 people and missing more than 2,500 people, washing away of more than 250 coastal bridges and loss of US$235 billion. Collapse of coastal bridges due to tsunami impact represents a huge obstacle for rescue works. Therefore, in the current study, the collapse of Utatsu Ohashi bridge is numerically studied. The analysis is carried out using the Applied element Method due to its advantages of simulating structural progressive collapse. The AEM is a discrete crack approach, in which elements can be separated, fall and collide to other elements in a fully nonlinear dynamic scheme of computations. The Utatsu Ohashi bridge collapse was successfully simulated using AEM. It was numerically found that the amount of trapped air between deck girders during tsunami had a significant effect on the behavior of the bridge. This is attributed to the buoyant force accompanied with the trapped air. A simplified method for estimating trapped air was assumed and proved to give reasonable results compared to reality. Three different solution examples for mitigating collapse of similar existing bridges were introduced and applied to Utatsu Ohashi bridge case and found to be efficient for preventing collapse.
Hamed Salem, Suzan Mohssen, Kenji Kosa, Akira Hosoda. Collapse Analysis of Utatsu Ohashi Bridge Damaged by Tohuku Tsunami using Applied Element Method. Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology Vol. 12(2014) No. 10. p.388-402. Released: October 11, 2014.