The Thin-walled Structures Group is Professor Ben Schafer’s research group in the Department of Civil And Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The group includes a broad array of affiliated members including high school, BS, MS, and PhD students, postdoctoral scholars, research scientists and both visiting students and visiting faculty. The group initiated in 2000 when Professor Schafer joined the faculty in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Thin-walled structures consist of a wide and constantly evolving field of engineering applications which seek to maximize structural efficiency and sustainability 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, bridges, wind turbine towers, ship hulls, aircraft skins, as well as buried structures such as solar array supports, tanks, pipes, culverts and many others. See Research Areas for all the efforts that have evolved from our interest in thin-walled structures!

Benjamin W. Schafer is the Hackerman Professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and the Director of the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He is also active in consulting and is a Consulting Principal at SGH. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in Structural Engineering and his B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa. Professor Schafer serves on AISC, ASCE, and AISI specification committees which create the U.S. standards for cold-formed and hot-rolled carbon and stainless steel structures. He has previously served as Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins, Director of the Cold-Formed Steel Research Consortium, Chair of the Structural Stability Research Council, President of the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute, and North American Editor of the Journal of Thin-walled Structures. He is an award winning teacher and avid proponent of the tenets of Structural Art. He is a dedicated runner and facilitator for a middle school maker club. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son.