Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas Bradley Davis


Plate girders are fabricated in situations where standard structural shapes do not possess the required strength necessary to carry applied loads. In many instances, plate girders are tapered so that the resistance to bending is proportional to the bending moment, creating cost effective, aesthetically pleasing structures. The AISC 2010 Specifications accurately predict the flexural capacity of tapered plate girders but recent research has suggested that the required shear strength is overly conservative. The researchers postulate that the required shear strength is overly conservative due to an effect known as modified shear that has been neglected from the AISC 2010 Specifications but has been suggested by several authors.

This research investigates both analytically and experimentally, tapered member ultimate shear strength considering a “modified” and “unmodified” applied shear approach. A new design formula introduced by Lee et al. (2008) will be used in conjunction with the AISC 2010 Specification in making ultimate shear strength comparisons. A total of 12 specimens are tested to failure, ten tapered and two prismatic built-up plate girders.