Date of Award

Fall 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

F. Baki

Second Advisor

H. Ghaednia

Third Advisor

S. Das


Finite element analysis, Modular building, Modular connection, Modular construction, VectorBloc



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Steel modular construction provides an efficient alternative to traditional construction practices. A key component to modular construction is the connection between the individual modules, which hold the building together against applied loads such as gravity, snow, and wind. The VectorBloc connector is an innovative cast steel connector that is used in the connections between steel modules made from hollow structural steel (HSS) members. The current VectorBloc connector, called VB4, is limited in its uplift capacity and thus faces challenges when applied to structures facing high uplift forces. Thus, a new design of the VectorBloc connector, called VB6, with a focus on increasing its uplift capacity has been proposed. This research program was designed to investigate the behaviour of this new design through a finite element analysis (FEA) based numerical approach.

This research presents the findings of a parametric study performed on the connection under axial tension loads. The results are discussed and analyzed, and the recommended parameters to maximize the connection’s uplift capacity are presented. The results of the analysis conducted on the connection under axial compression, lateral shear, and bending loads are analyzed, discussed, and presented as well.