American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Specifications, Standards, Manuals and Research Reports (1946 - present)

Alternative Title

Research Report RP15-3


The objective of this research is to create a computationally efficient seismic analysis framework for cold-formed steel (CFS) framed-buildings supported by hysteretic nonlinear models for CFS members and screw-fastened connections. Design of CFS structures subjected to lateral seismic forces traditionally relies on the strength of subassemblies subjected to lateral loading of systems, such as strapped/sheathed shear walls and diaphragms, to provide adequate protection against collapse. Enabling performance-based seismic design of CFS buildings requires computationally efficient and accurate modeling tools that predict the nonlinear cyclic behavior of CFS buildings, the individual CFS components and connections. Such models should capture the energy dissipation and damage due to buckling and cross-sectional deformations in thin-walled CFS components subjected to cyclic loads such as those induced by earthquakes. Likewise, models for screw-fastened CFS connections should capture the energy dissipation and damage due to tilting, bearing, or screw shear when subjected to cyclic loading.

In this dissertation, an analysis framework for CFS structures that captures the nonlinear cyclic behavior of critical components including axial members, flexural members, and screw fastened connections is presented. A modeling approach to simulate thin-walled behavior in CFS members is introduced where parameters were developed using results from an experimental program that investigated the cyclic behavior and energy dissipation in CFS axial members and flexural members. Energy dissipation and cyclic behavior of CFS members were characterized for members experiencing global, distortional and local buckling. Cyclic behavior and energy dissipation in thin steel plates and members was further investigated through finite element analysis in ABAQUS to provide a strategy for modeling steel columns cyclic behavior including local buckling. Model parameters were developed as generalized functions of the hysteretic energy dissipated and slenderness. The capabilities of the analysis framework are demonstrated through simulations of CFS wood sheathed shear wall cyclic responses validated with experimental results from full scale shear wall tests.

An ABAQUS user element (UEL) is provided for simulating CFS screw-fastened connections that was verified against experimental responses. The connection model is employed in CFS sheathed shear wall simulations of recent monotonic and cyclic experiments where each screw-fastened connection is represented by UEL.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures


American Iron and Steel Institute

Publication Date

01 Jul 2015

Document Version

Final Version


© 2015 American Iron and Steel Institute, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Technical Report

File Type