560.761 Cold-Formed Steel Structures


Cold-formed steel structures see broad use in civil engineering. The primary characteristic of such cold-formed steel structures; whether they be rack structures, buildings, or secondary systems in larger buildings,  is that due to the use of thin sheet steel, stability must be addressed with great care. This course will provide the tools practicing engineers use to design these structures, including codes and specifications, software tools, and experimental methods. In addition, the course will go far beyond the typical practicing engineering implementations and delve into the origins of the design methods in current use,  the theories which underpin modern analytical and computational tools used in exploring cold-formed steel behavior,  and provide a thorough introduction to the research currently underway in cold-formed steel structures.


Course organization

Part 1: Primarily focused on design,  several homeworks, culminating in a mini-project

Part 2: Focus on origins of design methods, underlying mechanics and theory, current research topics, etc., some homeworks, followed by a final project.


A word about background

The course is open to all comers, completion of an undergraduate steel design course is nearly mandatory. Courses in advanced (matrix) analysis of structures, advanced steel design, structural stability, finite elements will all be helpful – but are not required. The instructor is aware that the student’s enrolled in the course have a wide variety of backgrounds – this may mean that some explanations offered in class will not be targeted to all students; however, sufficient material will be provided in the course that student’s will be able to readily complete homework, succeed on the mid-term, and complete a useful project. Specifically, expectations for undergraduate and graduate students in this course are different.


Other Details

Course website: www.ce.jhu.edu/cfs

Instructor: Ben Schafer, schafer@jhu.edu, 208 Latrobe Hall

Office Hours: Open door policy, or by appointment (lawetzel@jhu.edu)


Course links

Dr.S.'s Library (password required)

Course info (see Other Details)

Class topics list (see below)


Cold-Formed Steel links

Thin-walled Structures JHU Research Group

American Iron and Steel Institute

Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute

Steel Framing Alliance

Steel Stud Manufacturers Association
Steel Framing Industry Alliance

Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures

ASCE-SEI Committee on Cold-Formed Steel
Cold-Formed Steel Wiki Page


Journals commonly with CFS content

Thin-walled Structures

Journal of Constructional Steel Research

Journal of Structural Engineering


Topics covered/class list

1. Overview and logisitics

2. Intro to CFS structures and into to FSM

3. FSM to DSM beginnings (&HW)

4. DSM for beams and columns (&HW)

5. Plate buckling and eff. width beginnings

6. Effective width and columns, L-G interaction
7. Eff. section of beams (lipped channels)
8. L-G in beams, Distortional buckling (&HW)
9. Tour of CFS at Brody Learning Commons
10. Global buckling many methods, Shear, Web crippling
11. Beam and column capstone design problems (&HW)

9. Global buckling determination and main Spec. (&HW)

10. Distortional buckling and edge stiffened elements

11. General Provisions (ASD, LRFD, Rational Eng. Analysis)

12. General Provisions Cont. (0.95t, fya, Rfy, w/t, curling)

13. Experimental CFS, column test in the lab

- Design project

14. Main Spec. Ch. B Elements (elements not previously covered)

15. Main Spec. Ch. C Member (categorization, web crippling)

16. Main Spec. Ch. C Members Cont. (shear, combined states)