Characterization of connection details for truss-diaphragm for use in full-scale experiments focused on lateral contribution of gravity connections in steel frames

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Schulz, Adam Carl

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Typical structures derive lateral strength and stiffness from only a limited number of lateral load resisting elements. Gravity framing normally accounts for the vast majority of members in a structure and is assumed not to contribute to the lateral resistance of the frame. This assumption is partly due to the perfect pin idealization for gravity connections. However, research has indicated that gravity framing offers a nonnegligible amount of lateral resistance both due to moment resistance in the connections and continuity of gravity columns. In aggregate, the moment resistance of gravity framing may substantially impact the lateral capacity of a structure. This thesis presents the details of a system-level test specimen that will be used to evaluate the contribution of gravity framing to the lateral resistance of a steel building structure. This overall research investigation is an extension of the work published by Donahue (2019) and employs many of the same details. The specimen described herein is a two-bay by three-bay structure that utilizes double-angle shear connections in the direction of loading. This structure represents one floor of a representative building with columns spanning from mid-height of the story below to mid-height of the story above. The specimen will be tested as a bare-steel frame to collect calibration data for forthcoming tests that include composite decking. In addition to explaining the geometry of the specimen, this thesis details computational and experimental testing completed to validate a horizontal-to-vertical connection between a knife plate and a WT section in a top truss diaphragm that is used to distribute lateral loads throughout the specimen. This connection was designed with the intent that the WT section will accommodate bending while limiting permanent deformations in the knife plate. While the knife plate was observed to experience substantial plastic strains in experimental subassembly testing, it was decided that the magnitude of residual deformation sustained by the knife plate would not substantially impact the constructability of subsequent test specimens. Therefore, the detail was used in the full-scale system-level specimen.


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