School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

Postgraduate research

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Current and completed research by our postgraduate students.


Emma Leitner

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3974


Start date

Feb 2012

Submission date

Feb 2016

Emma Leitner


Three-dimensional finite element modelling of a bridge structure with rocking piers under cyclic loading


The objective of the present research is the development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of a precast concrete bridge structure undergoing cyclic loading. The bridge pier-foundation interface is unfixed, allowing the structure to develop a rocking mechanism as a form of passive isolation against earthquake loading. After validation, the finite element model will be extended to include larger bridge structures, and alternate loading schemes, such as the consideration of spatially varying seismic loading.

Why my research is important

The development of rocking in bridge structures has been identified as a valid isolation technique for structures under seismic loading. By utilizing uplift in the bridge system, ductility and strength demands can be reduced on the structural element. This limits the damage to the element, and reduces residual displacements of the structure due to the system’s self-centring capability. Whilst multiple experimental studies on this isolation method have been completed by researchers, limited focus has been placed on numerical models, specifically three-dimensional micro-models, which allow for better understanding of the actions of the bridge structure undergoing this motion.


School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

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Thursday, 19 September, 2013 11:39 AM