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

US Egypt Cooperative Research:
Use of Cold-Formed Steel in Residential Housing

U.S. funding through US-AID adminitstered by National Science Foundation


Project Life: 2011-2014 


This project supported a cooperative research effort lead by Dr. Benjamin Schafer at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and Dr. Metwally Abu-Hamd of Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. The team studied the application of cold-formed steel framing to Egypt and also examined solutions that would allow a country newly adopting cold-formed steel building technology to leapfrog legacy solutions. In recent years society has begun to re-evaluate our built environment with the objective of achieving higher performance, specifically, to minimize loss attributed to natural hazards and to seek sustainable solutions for long-term needs in the built environment. Residential housing represents the greatest percentage of the world's building stock. In the past cultural norms largely drove the materials and systems employed for residential housing, today the situation is in flux and the potential to move towards a more scientific performance-basis exists. One material that may see significant increase in use due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, high recycled content, ease of construction, and proven efficiencies is cold-formed steel. The project explored the use of cold-formed steel framing in residential housing in Egypt and sought to (a) develop new non-proprietary systems for cold-formed steel framing with the potential to significantly increase building technical performance and function, and (b) provides a series of archetype studies that explore different framing solutions, including the newly proposed cold-formed steel option, from economic, environmental, and sustainability aspects. The building archetypes studies focus on both rural and urban areas in Egypt and the framing solutions examined include (a) traditional framing solutions in Egypt (concrete) along with (b) existing repetitive framing in cold-formed steel using commodity shapes and (c) novel, optimized, cross-section shapes and new systems for load bearing and lateral resistance.

Note: Prof. Metwally Abu-Hamd received additional Egyptian government funding in 2014 to continue the efforts and Prof. Schafer has continued the collaboration as a consultant. In December 2014 the team hosted a 2nd Egypt-U.S. workshop on the use of cold-formed steel in Egypt.

Links to Materials on this Page

Project Team

Advisory Board

U.S. Meetings and Tours (April 2012)

Egyptian Workshop (November 2012)

Additional Project Research Materials

Acknowledgments and Disclaimer

Project Team

The project team met approximately every third week from September 2011 through August 2013. The team met approximately bi-monthly in Fall 2013 - Fall 2014. Please contact the PI for meeting minutes and additional details.


Ben Schafer - Professor - Johns Hopkins
Zhanjie Li - Post-doctoral Scholar - Johns Hopkins
Shahab Torabian - Post-doctoral Scholar - Johns Hopkins

Metwally Abu-Hamd - Professor - Cairo University

Mohamed Badr - Professor - Egyptian Housing and Building Research Center

Maged Hanna - Associate Professor - Egyptian Housing and Building Research Center

project team

26 April 2012 after visiting NAHB Research Center. Front to back, Left: Zhanjie Lie,

Maged Hanna, Mohamed Badr, Right: Metwally Aub-Hamd, Ben Schafer

U.S. Industrial Advisory Board (IAB)

A key component of the project is the advice from the U.S. based Industrial Advisory Board. The project team met with advisory board in Fall 2011, and Spring 2012. In the Fall of 2012 several members of the IAB participated in a workshop held in Cairo. The members include

IAB Members:

Rick Haws - Nucor (Chair)

Don Allen - DSi Engineering, Super Stud

Jay Larson - Steel Market Development Institute (American Iron and Steel Institute)

Rob Madsen - Devco Engineeering

Nabil Rahman - The Steel Network

Nader El Hajj - Framecad

George Richards - BORM

U.S. Meetings and Tours (April 2012)

The entire project team met in the U.S. in April of 2012.The meeting was planned in conjunction with the North American Steel Construction Conference held in Grapevine Texas. The team toured the cold-formed steel testing facilties at the University of North Texas lead by Associate Professor Cheng Yu. After attending the conference the entire group then went to Baltimore for additional tours and visit. A half-day day workshop covering all of the research in the JHU Thin-walled Structures group was provided along with a tour of the Thin-walled Structures laboratory and visits with administration and other faculty. The team toured a ClarkDietrich manufacturing facility and toured a load bearing cold-formed steel framed building using TSN studs in Wilmington. The team visited a cold-formed steel panelizer: Panel Systems in Woodbridge VA and toured a building using Panel Systems walls in downton Washington, D.C. The team finished its multi-say tour with a visit to the National Association of Home Builders Research Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The tour, organized by the PI, provided a hands-on look at the application of cold-formed steel building technology in the United States. The project team would like to thank all those individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to host the team during their visits.

Egyptian Workshop (November 2012)
As Egypt Finds its Future, Engineers Gather to Envision Future Housing

Egypt is in political turmoil. Making a difference in these times is probably asking too much from a small joint USAID/NSF research project, but for two days in the second week of December 2012 approximately 200 Egyptian engineers, architects, builders, and manufacturers and even a few ministers from the Egyptian government met at the University of Cairo to imagine a future for Egypt that takes advantage of the latest technology: light (cold-formed) steel framing. The workshop was organized by Professor Metwally Abu-Hamd of the University of Cairo and Professor Benjamin Schafer of Johns Hopkins University as part of an ongoing grant that the two professors are leading: "US Egypt Cooperative Research: Use of Cold-Formed Steel in Residential Housing".

The workshop was led by the United States and Egyptian project teams and included key participation from the United States Industrial Advisory Board. Four members of that board: George Richards (BORM), Don Allen (DSi), Nader ElHajj (Framecad), and Nabil Rahman (TSN), came to Cairo to share their experiences with making light steel framing a reality not only in the United States, but around the world. Their talks were augmented by research talks from the project team (Egypt: Metwally Abu-Hamd, Maged Twafick Hanna, Mohammed Badr; United States: Benjamin Schafer, Zhanjie Li). An industrial exhibition also complemented the workshop and demonstrated to the Egyptian engineers that the manufacturing base was already in place to make light steel framing happen in Egypt.

Being in Egpyt, at the same time as protestors marched in Tahrir square, only made the Egyptian participants even more gracious with their United States participants. Benjamin Schafer summarizes: "It was a once in a lifetime chance to demonstrate that we care about an Egyptian future, without being political, instead we simply set down to the business of becoming better engineers and learning new skills so we can provide society with more from less." More about the project can be found at the project website:

Introduction and schedule of talks
Example talk - Schafer on Codes and Design Guides
Complete proceedings and presentations available upon request.



Proceedings of the workshop.


Workshop participants during a session.

speakers and assistants

Workshop speakers and guests.(L to R: Don Allen, Zhanjie Li, Nader ElHajj, Metwally AbuHamd,Cairo Student,Cairo Student, Ben Schafer, Maged Hanna, Mohammed Badr, George Richards, Nabil Rahman, Not named

Additional Project Research Materials

Proposal (pdf)

Egyptian Progress Reports to STDF (1, 2, 3)

American Progress Reports to NSF (1, 2)

Egyptian Archetype Buidings (example other dwg available upon request)

Internal reports related to light steel framing performance and technologies, these reports are available upon request only, they cover the following topics: acoustic perforamnce, fire perforamnce, concrete floors, ferrocement floors, GRC floors, optimization of families of cold-formed steel shapes, energy analysis of CFS buildings, sustainability.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OISE 1103894. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

page created 3 November 2011, last updated 11 December 2014