AbstractBase isolators and fluid viscous dampers are viable protective devices that have been commonly considered in the seismic protection of civil engineering structures. However, the optimal design of these devices remains a tedious and iterative undertaking due to the uncertainty of ground motions, the nonlinear behavior of the structure, and its change of dynamic characteristics (i.e., effective stiffness and damping ratio) under each new design. The optimal design problem becomes more challenging concerning a multiresponse bridge system where conflicting damage potential is often expected among multiple bridge components (e.g., column, bearing, shear key, deck unseating, foundation). In this respect, this study develops a risk-based optimization strategy that directly links the expected annual repair cost ratio (ARCR) of the bridge to the design parameters of base isolators and fluid dampers. This strategy is achieved by devising a multistep workflow that integrates a seismic hazard model, a design of experiment for bearings and dampers, a logistic regression towards parameterized component-level fragility models, and a bridge system-level seismic loss assessment. The developed ARCR is parameterized as a convex function of the influential parameters of seismic protective devices. As such, optimal bearing and damper designs can be pinpointed by directly visualizing the global minimum of the parameterized ARCR surface. The optimal design is carried out against a typical reinforced concrete highway bridge in California that is installed with the fluid dampers and three types of widely-used isolation bearings—the elastomeric bearing, lead-rubber bearing, and friction pendulum system. It is shown that optimal design parameters can be obtained to significantly reduce the expected ARCR of the bridge, whereas combining optimally designed bearings and dampers can provide the minimum seismic risk.

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