Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Marc Maguire


Marc Maguire


Joseph A. Caliendo


Paul Barr


Precast concrete sandwich wall panels (PCSWPs) have been used in the precast industry for decades due to their durability, rapid construction, and thermal efficiency. Shear connectors are used to connect the two wythes of concrete to allow composite action of the system. The use of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) connectors is a relatively recent breakthrough in PCSWP design. GFRP connectors allow full composite action to occur, while still maintaining the thermal efficiency of the system by not allowing thermal bridging to occur.

In order to design concrete sandwich panel systems to act compositely, the engineer must obtain design values from a connector manufacturer, often times making engineers uncomfortable. Shear connectors are typically proprietary and are required to first have design values often times varies by each company. This project aimed to compare existing testing methodologies in order to better inform engineers about design decisions.

This project used two methodologies of shear testing on five different types of composite action connectors. Testing was performed using single-shear and double-shear "push-off" tests. In order to gather enough statistical data to compare the testing methodologies, 22 single-shear and 48 double-shear small scale specimens were designed, fabricated, and loaded through failure at the Utah State University SMASH Lab. Testing was performed by applying loads perpendicular to the connectors and measuring the load and amount of deflection that occurred. Using the load-deflection relationships obtained, stiffness values were calculated and recorded for each test. A statistical analysis was performed based on the observed data.

This study concluded that the ultimate strength capacity and stiffness of connectors will change depending on the testing methodology used. Single-shear testing will generally provide less ultimate strength and less stiffness when compared to double-shear testing.



Available for download on Monday, May 01, 2023