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Research

Multi-Hazard Reliability and Risk Assessment

One of the focuses of Dr. Padgett’s research has been on multi-hazard reliability and risk assessment of structures such as bridges to support new design and life-cycle management of existing infrastructure. Such an endeavor requires an understanding of the relative contribution of various threats to the risk of damage or impending consequences, such as life-cycle costs.  Traditionally, limited attention has been given to understanding the hazard risk profile to bridge infrastructure, defined as the relative risks posed by multiple hazards and the synergies or tradeoffs in protecting for different hazards. Furthermore effective strategies are needed to jointly consider cumulative damage (e.g. from aging) and punctuated damage (e.g. from natural hazards) when assessing the influence of design or upgrade decisions that may mitigate risks from multiple potentially competing hazards.  Several projects in Professor Padgett's research group aim to address these gaps in multi-hazard reliability and risk assessment with an emphasis on application to bridge infrastructure. For example, metamodels are employed as an efficient strategy for developing parameterized time-dependent bridge fragilities for multiple hazards, thereby facilitating multi-hazard risk assessment and life-cycle management.  Threats considered in the case studies include earthquakes, hurricanes, aging and deterioration, scour, and live loads.  The applications illustrate the relative contribution of earthquake and hurricane hazards to the risk of losses given variation in bridge parameters, the influence of considering aging when assessing the hazard risk profile, and the impact of concurrent threats (e.g. truck and earthquake) on the life-cycle risk.