Image courtesy of UC Berkeley PEER Center
Shake up BridgePBEE improves study of soil, structure interaction during simulated earthquake.

Bridge analysis software to model the interaction of soil, foundation and structure in simulated earthquakes weighs a host of variables to achieve results. Making such a complex process user-friendly is a challenge.

BridgePBEE, a graphical pre- and post-processor performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) analysis tool, aspires to do just that. The beta version is available for free download from the University of California, Berkeley's Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center.

The PC-based tool lets engineers conduct PBEE analysis on a two-span, single-column highway bridge as well as simpler pushover or base-input acceleration analyses, says Heidi Faison, outreach director for PEER.

The software is built on the Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (Open-Sees), an open-source, object-oriented framework. Developers say it can integrate structure and soil models and yields improved results for reinforced-concrete structures, shallow and deep foundations, and liquefiable soils.

They also say OpenSees leverages databases, reliability methods, scientific visualization and high-end computing.

"The key element that will make it useful to researchers and engineers is its graphical user interface, which greatly facilitates its use for PBEE analysis of simple highway bridges," says Faison. "Because the software utilizes the computational power of OpenSees for the numerical analysis, BridgePBEE has powerful, non-linear, dynamic response assessment capabilities for modeling and analyzing the performance of the bridge structure, the supporting soil mesh and their interaction."

Download BridgePBEE BridgePBEE examples