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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kara D. Peterman

Second Advisor

Scott A. Civjan

Third Advisor

Stephen D. Schreiber

Subject Categories

Structural Engineering


Steel deck diaphragms are planar structures that serve as critical components of a metal building’s lateral force-resisting system. These can be found in walls, floors, and roofs of metal buildings and aid with the lateral stability of the structure. The diaphragm design process involves the selection of materials, deck geometry, connections, and connection detailing across the steel panels. The American Iron and Steel Institute’s AISI S310 and Steel Deck Institutes DDM04 both provide design guidance on the selection and detailing of materials and fasteners for the applicable limit states of connections and stability of the panels. Both design codes provide uniform guidance in the treatment of these limit states This dissertation deals with specific aspects of the connection and stability limit state fastener and material selection process, specifically focusing on the strength and hysteretic behavior of light-gage steel connections (22 gage, 24 gage, and 26 gage) and the stability behavior of steel panels due to varying support attachment patterns. To investigate the hysteretic behavior of light gage connections, 27 cyclic tests were conducted using the FEMA 461 Interim Protocol II, quasistatic cyclic displacement-controlled loading protocol. The tests varied in ply thickness (22 gage, 24 gage, 26 gage) and support framing member thickness (14 gage and 18 gage). Results from the 27 cyclic connection tests have been presented and discussed to determine available capacity, evaluate performance of predictive design equations, and track progression of failure in the light gage connections. Simplified multi-point backbone curves have been fit and presented for incorporation into finite element analysis models and future numerical simulations of connection behavior. To determine the influence of varying support attachment pattern (end connectivity) on the out-of-plane buckling capacity of steel deck panels, 9 full-scale monotonic diaphragm tests were conducted. These tests were identical in deck profile (Type B Deck), deck gage (22 gage), span length (15 ft), support framing member thickness (16 gage), and only varied in the number of support connections per panel at the panel ends. The support attachment patterns evaluated cover a range of industry standard attachment patterns. Results from the experimental testing were utilized to calibrate finite element models and expand the study to two more commercially available deck thicknesses (20 gage and 18 gage). Results from the 9 full-scale diaphragm tests and 9 numerical simulations have been presented and discussed to determine the influence of end connectivity on peak buckling capacity, initiation of buckling, and stiffness. Results from both studies have been discussed in the context of the research questions and future works have been recommended to further investigate these phenomena and expand the state of knowledge.