Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures Library


The cold reduction in thickness of austenitic stainless steel sheet brings about the following significant characteristics of material properties: 1) higher strength with an increasing amount of cold working, 2) more pronounced anisotropic material properties with increasing cold working, 3) stress strain relations different in tension and compression and depending on directions, and 4) nonlinear stress strain curves with relatively low elastic limits, especially in longitudinal compression. In addition, local buckling is encountered in thin walled structural members. These are the problems associated with the structural design of stainless steel members. The purpose of this investigation is to develop the basic necessary information for design methods for light gage cold formed structural elements and members made of cold rolled austenitic stainless steel. A detailed investigation of material properties of cold worked stainless steel is made. A statistical approach is introduced to study the variation of yield strength due to cold working so that lower bound values may be established. An affinity approach is introduced to obtain the shear properties from normal stress behavior. Design mechanical properties for tempered Type 301 are obtained. In order to predict the member behavior, a study of element behavior is essential. The buckling and post buckling behavior of stiffened and unstiffened elements as a part of the structural member is investigated. The nonlinear and anisotropic material properties are considered in the approximate analyses. Bleich's two-modulus concept of inelastic buckling and Von Karman's effective width concept of post buckling strength were used for predicting the element behavior. Based on the element behavior, the response of structural members may be predicted in the post buckling domain. A numerical analysis of the inelastic flexural behavior of thin-walled cold formed members with considerations of the unique material properties is made by using a digital computer. The extensive treatment of flexural members is necessary because of its vital importance in light gage steel applications. Simplified methods are also recommended for design purposes. The theoretical predictions agree quite satisfactorily with experimental results. Design procedures with considerations of strength, local distortion, and deflection are recommended for structural elements and members.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


American Iron and Steel Institute

Research Center/Lab(s)

Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures



Publication Date


Document Version

Final Version

Document Type

Report - Technical

File Type




Technical Report Number

Report No. 334