professor ben schafer's thin-walled structures research group - johns hopkins university


Thin-Walled Structures are Everywhere

(Last updated May 2001 update)

    Thin-walled structures consist of a wide and growing field of engineering applications which seek efficiency in strength and cost by minimizing material. The result is a structure in which the stability of the components, i.e. the "thin walls" is often the primary aspect of the behavior and design. Thin-walled structures include industrial and residential buildings, box girder bridges, ship hulls, aircraft skins, as well as buried structures such as tanks, pipes, culverts and many others.

Bending Test of a Thin-walled Cold-Formed Steel Purlin in JHU Lab

    Current practice of maximum strength at minimum cost drives classic engineering materials such as steel, concrete, or even aluminum, as well as newer materials such as FRP or HDPE to be used as thin-walled struc- tures. My research on cold-formed steel members and work on buried FRP tanks and HDPE profile-wall pipe, and even the human femur, has led me to conclude that the behavior, prediction, design, and optimization of thin-walled structures is an increasingly important problem in structural engineering research.


Applied Load, Local & Distortional Buckling (via CUFSM)

    In Professor Schafer's Group current research and work is involved with: developing more reliable specification procedures for cold-formed steel structures in bending; developing and disseminating numerical methods such as the finite strip method for computer-aided-design of thin-walled structures; developing reliable methods and procedures for incorporating numerical methods into the design of thin-walled structures; developing methods for handling uncertainty in the analysis, behavior and design of thin-walled structures; and many other projects.

Example of cold-formed steel framing (courtesy

    Professor Schafer's Thin-walled Structures Group also works on a variety of other problems in or related to structural engineering including: design of structures for catastrophic events, preservation and analysis of historic timber bridges, and other projects. Please go back to the home page for further descriptions.


last updated 07/19/05 BWS

webmaster: Ben Schafer,