About

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 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 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, bridges, wind turbine towers, ship hulls, aircraft skins, as well as buried structures such as 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 a Professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He is also active in engineering consulting and is currently a Consulting Principal at Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger in the Engineering Mechanics and Infrastructure Group. 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 has led numerous research projects on the behavior and design of cold-formed steel structures and is the Director of the Cold-Formed Steel Research Consortium. He serves on the AISI and AISC specification committees which create the nation’s standards for cold-formed and hot-rolled steel structures, respectively. He is also Chair of the ASCE 8 standards committee on stainless cold-formed steel and Vice-Chair of the AISC 370 standards committee on stainless hot-rolled steel. He has previously served as Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins, 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, which he teaches about in his course Perspectives on the Evolution of Structures. He is a dedicated runner, youth soccer coach, and facilitator for a middle school maker program. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and one child.