Date of Award

Summer 2019

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Erin S Bell

Second Advisor

Raymond A Cook

Third Advisor

Kyle P Kwiatkowski


To meet modern day challenges structural engineers must properly design not only the primary

structural elements of buildings but increasingly the secondary elements too. Damage or failure

of nonstructural components (NSCs) and their attachments can present large economic losses,

impaired building services and functionality, as well as life safety and emergency egress

concerns. To properly design these components, it is important to accurately estimate their

maximum acceleration demands including horizontal and vertical components of acceleration. In

an effort to better understand vertical acceleration demands of rigid NSCs in multistory buildings

and assess the building code provisions a 20-story office building, that is representative of a

typical structure, is designed. Vertical acceleration demands are characterized through the use of

floor acceleration spectra which are obtained for various points on the plan floor by running

elastic modal time histories using 106 recorded ground motions. The main findings of this study

are that peak vertical floor acceleration (PVFA) demands vary in plan due to the out of plane

flexibility of the floor. Points in the mid portions of the floor slab experience much higher

accelerations than points at column locations. The vertical seismic force design provisions of

ASCE 7-10 underestimates the PVFA in a majority of the points found in the floor plan at least

50% of the time. A comparison and discussion between these results and the findings of a recent

study out of the University of Reno is provided.