Jun 2011

Characterizing Hysteretic Behavior of Cold-Formed Steel Members and Connections

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Thin-walled cold-formed steel building systems are becoming an increasingly competitive multi-story construction solution when compared to more traditional hot-rolled steel and timber framing.  However, our understanding of the behavior of cold-formed structures subjected to earthquake loading is lacking.  Although shear wall units with sheathing and strapping have been studied, the cyclic behavior of the rest of the cold formed members and connections are not well understood.

The objective of this research project which is conducted with co-PI Cris Moen, is to characterize cyclic behavior of cold-formed steel structural components.  Cyclic axial and flexural tests will be performed at Virginia Tech.  The experimental results will allow the parameterization of the hysteretic response based on cross-section and global slenderness properties.  The hysteretic response curves will capture energy dissipation characteristics for common cold-formed formed steel strength limit states including local buckling, distortional buckling, and global (Euler) buckling.  Cyclic tests on cold-formed steel connections will allow calibration of hysteretic models for connections as well.  The ultimate goal of this project is to create a toolbox of hysteretic models that can capture the behavior of individual components of the structure such that when they are assembled they can simulate the behavior of an infinite number of building configurations.

This work is a companion project to an ongoing NEES project which will incorporate the results of this research into high fidelity finite element models of cold-formed structures to better understand their full system behavior and refine related design procedures.


Padilla-Llano D., Eatherton, M., Moen, C.D., Bruce, T., Macanallen, L. (2012) “Cyclic Energy Dissipation of Cold-Formed Steel Studs Experiencing Euler Buckling” ASCE Structures Congress, March 29-31, 2012 Chicago, Illinois.

Padilla-Llano, D., Moen, C.D., Eatherton, M.R., Li, Q., and Bruce, T. (2012) “Compression-Tension Hysteretic Responsee of Cold-Fromed Steel C-Section Framing Members” Proceedings of the 21st International Specialty Conference on Cold-Formed Steel Structures, St. Louis, Missouri, October, 2012

Padilla-Llano, D., Eatherton, M.R., and Moen, C. (2012) “Cyclic Energy Dissipation of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Studs” Accepted for the 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, September 24-28, Lisbon, Portugal.

Padilla-Llano, D., Moen, C.D., and Eatherton, M.R. “Experimental Investigation of the Cyclic Axial Behavior of Cold-Formed Steel Framing Members”  Thin-Walled Structures (In Review)

Padilla-Llano*, D., Moen, C.D., Eatherton, M.R. (2013) “Hysteretic Lateral-Torsional Buckling Response of Cold-Formed Steel C-Section Joists” Proceedings of the Annual Stability Conference, Structural Stability Research Council (SSRC), April 16-20, St. Louis, MO.

Padilla-Llano, D., Eatherton, M.R., Moen, C.D.,  (2013) “Axial Hysteretic Modeling of Cold-Formed Steel Members for Computationally Efficient Seismic Simulation” Proceedings of the 2013 ASCE Structures Congress, March 2-4, 2013 Chicago, Illinois.

Padilla-Llano, D.A., Moen, C.D., and Eatherton, M.R. (2013) Energy Dissipation of Thin-Walled Cold-Formed Steel Members, Virginia Tech, SEM Report Series, Report No. CE/VPI-ST-13/06

Schafer B.W., Ayham, D., Leng, J., Liu, P., Padilla-Llano, D., Peterman, K., Stehman, M., Buonopane, S.G., Eatherton, M., Madsen, R., Manley, B., Moen, C.D., Nakata, N., Rogers, C., and Yu, C. (2014) “The CFS-NEES Effort: Advanced Cold-Formed Steel Earthquake Engineering” Submitted for the Proceedings of the 10th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, July 21-25 2014, Anchorage Alaska