Date of Thesis


Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen G. Buonopane

Second Advisor

Ronald David Ziemian


By understanding structural response, structures can be designed to have a desired reliability or robustness to prevent the effects of progressive collapse. With respect to a statically determinate truss structure, if a single primary member or a gusset plate connection of the main truss fails, the truss will immediately collapse over its entire span. To design against progressive collapse, a degree of static indeterminacy is introduced in the structural system. Graphic statics, a geometrical approach used to analyze the form and force interaction of a determinate structure, has not been applied to statically indeterminate structures. By applying graphic statics, a truss can be graphically analyzed through the preparation of accurate and to-scale form and force diagrams. An analysis using graphic statics results in a single diagram, force polygon, that clearly presents the total load paths within a structure. In addition, the force polygon represents all the internal forces acting within the truss. Therefore, this research will use graphic statics as a tool to understand the total load path of indeterminate truss structures and will make the redistribution of forces in a redundant structure subject to damage or member removal more apparent. Furthermore, the research includes a comparative analysis by employing structural complexity. Statically indeterminate truss systems of varying topologies were analyzed by employing both progressive damage and parametric analyses. These analyses account for the local behavior of a truss structure subjected to damage and the overall efficacy of a truss' capability to redistribute load through alternative paths.