Vol. 2, No. 1, 2011

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Lead-rubber hysteretic bearings suitable for protecting structures during earthquakes

William H. Robinson

Vol. 2 (2011), No. 1, 5–19

Lead-rubber hysteretic bearings provide in a single unit the combined features of vertical load support, horizontal flexibility and energy absorbing capacity required for the base isolation of structures from earthquake attack. The lead-rubber hysteretic bearing is a laminated elastomeric bearing of the type used in bridge structures, with a lead plug down its centre.

Since the invention of the lead-rubber bearing, a total of eleven bearings up to a diameter of 650 mm, with lead plugs ranging from 50 to 170 mm in diameter, have been tested under various conditions, including vertical loads to 3.15 MN, strokes to ± 110 mm, rates from 1 mm/h to 100 mm/s, and temperatures of 35C to + 45C. In all of these tests, the lead-rubber bearings behaved satisfactorily and the hysteresis loops could be described reasonably well by assuming that the lead behaved as an elastic-plastic solid with a yield stress in shear of 10.5 MPa. The bearings showed little rate dependence at 100 mm/s, though at creep rates of 1 mm/h the force due to the lead dropped to 30 per cent of that at typical earthquake frequencies. The effect of many small displacements has been tested with 11 000 cycles at ± 3 mm. A total of 92 lead-rubber bearings have been used in New Zealand to base isolate one building and three bridges. They have yet to be used overseas.

This paper describes the tests on the lead-rubber bearings, the results and a design procedure for selecting the size of the lead plug.

\normalfont Reprinted with permission from \hrefhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eqe.4290100408\it Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics 10:4, 593–604 (1982)

history, lead-rubber bearings
Received: 22 May 1981
Revised: 2 November 1981
Published: 10 November 2011
William H. Robinson
Physics and Engineering Laboratory
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Lower Hutt
New Zealand