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To better understand the behavior of composite beams in buildings, push-out tests were
conducted to study the behavior of welded shear studs. Forty-eight solid slab push-out
tests were conducted to study how stud tensile strength and concrete properties affect the
strength of shear connections. It is shown that raising the tensile strength of a shear
connector actually has an adverse effect on the connector's performance and strength. It
is also shown that the upper limit for shear strength used in the current AISC specification
(Load 1993) is unconservative and a lower upper limit is proposed. Eighty-seven pushout
tests utilizing steel deck were also conducted. It is shown how the placement, height,
and arrangement of shear studs, as well as the height and gage of steel deck affects the
strength of shear connections when stiffened steel deck is used. It is shown that the
current AISC specification is unconservative and does not account for the many failure
mechanisms associated with connections using steel deck. It is shown how tension within
the stud shank, friction at the slab/beam interface, and steel deck strength affect the
strength of shear connections.