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What is the importance of shear stiffness in the design of elastomeric bearing?

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For elastomeric bearing, the shear stiffness is an important parameter for design because it influences the force transfer between the bridge and its piers. In essence, elastomers are flexible under shear deformation but it is relatively stiff in compression. However, elastomeric bearings should not be used in tension.

Elastomeric bearing should be designed in serviceability limit state only. The cross sectional area is normally determined by the compressive stress limit under serviceability limit state. The shape factor, i.e. plan area of the laminar layer divided by area of perimeter free to bulge, affects the relation and the compressive load. In essence, higher capacity of bearings could be obtained with higher shape factor.

The long side of the bearing is usually oriented parallel to the principle axis of rotation because it facilitates rotational movement. The thickness of bearings is limited and controlled by shear strain requirements. In essence, the shear strain should be less than a certain limit to avoid the occurrence of rolling over at the edges and delamination due to fatigue. Hence, it follows that higher rotations and translations require thicker bearing. On the other hand, the vertical stiffness of bearings is obtained by inserting sufficient number of steel plates. In addition, checks should be made on combined compression and rotation to guard against the possible occurrence of uplifting of corners of bearings under certain load combinations.

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This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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