Dr Kyle Rollins Receives James Cooper Award at 7th National Seismic Conference

Seventh National Seismic Conference on Bridges & Highways

Rollins Receives James Cooper Award at 7th National Seismic Conference
A paper by BYU Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Kyle Rollins was recently recognized with the James Cooper Best Paper award at the 7th National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways held in Oakland, California on May 20-22.  Remarkably, Rollins had previously won the same award at the 6th National Seismic Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina in 2009. The award is named in honor of the late James Cooper, who for many years led the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) seismic research program.
Rollins’ paper entitled “Passive Force-Deflection Behavior for Skewed Abutments with MSE Wingwalls”, describes large scale field tests which show a significant reduction in the lateral resistance of bridge abutments as the skew angle increases.  For a 30 degree skew, the abutment resistance was found to decrease by 50%.  This previously unknown effect may partially explain why damage rates to skewed bridges in the 2010 Chilean earthquake were over two times higher than that of non-skewed bridges.  
The paper describes the tests which Rollins and his team of students recently conducted at a test site at the Salt Lake International Airport.  The tests involve simulated abutments which are 5.5 ft high and 11 ft wide and require hydraulic actuators producing forces up to 1.2 million pounds to accomplish.  Tests were performed on skews of 0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees.
Rollins co-authors are BYU graduate students Bryan Franke, Aaron Marsh, Katie Palmer, and Jaycee Smith. Funding for this study is being provided through a pooled fund approach with contributions from the Departments of Transportation of California, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, and New York along with the FHWA.