Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

An Chen


This thesis presents the results of three studies conducted within the field of structural engineering during completion of a master’s thesis. The first two studies report on the results of experimental testing and finite element modeling in reinforced concrete structures. Both structures can be thought to be composed of concrete panels. The third study, while not related to experimental work, details results of an in-classroom experiment utilizing an application developed to transform typical teaching pedagogy utilizing augmented reality.

The first study focuses on a particular detail utilized within the connection of an approach slab to bridge deck. Known as the deck over backwall detail, the concept gets rid of the typical expansion joint at the interface, extending the bridge deck to the approach slab, allowing them to act as one continuous piece. Within the study, two different reinforcing options are analyzed through both laboratory testing and validation with finite element modeling. Findings indicate that detailing of reinforcing through the joint has a large impact on the cracking that could occur on top of the bridge deck.

The second study focused on the performance of concrete walls with openings, subjected to different loading conditions. The walls, envisioned as being a part of a tuned liquid wall damper system, are testing for their axial, weak-axis bending, strong-axis bending, and shear strengths. Results of testing are compared to walls of the same geometry without openings, as well as developed finite element models. Results indicate that as expected, walls with openings do contain a strength reduction. However, strength reductions are not too large to prevent use of walls with openings in tuned liquid wall damping systems, and present a viable option for increasing the damping of a system.

The last study focused on the development and implementation of an augmented reality application aimed at transforming the existing teaching pedagogy within a structural analysis classroom setting. Results from initial usability testing are presented, including educational design and user interface decisions. Additionally, both quantitative and qualitative results from utilizing the application within two structural analysis classes over a semester are presented. Results indicate that while the application may not have a statistically significant effect on student’s learning, student engagement and understanding of broader concepts increases, showing the potential to increase student learning in the future.

Copyright Owner

Elizabeth Miller



File Format


File Size

217 pages