CCFSS Library (1939 - present)


INTRODUCTION: It has long been recognized by structural engineers, that light gage steel cladding floor and roof decking systems have a considerable stiffening and strengthening effect on building frameworks. The beneficial contribution of these diaphragm systems is most pronounced when the structure as a whole is subjected to loads which result in an in-plane shear action of the cladding. This occurs, for example, when the rigidity of a floor or roof diaphragm acting as a membrane is utilized to transmit lateral forces to stiff end walls. Another example of diaphragm action is found in pitched roof portal sheds under vertical and lateral loads. In such cases the membrane strength and rigidity of the cladding can be used to restrict the tendency of intermediate frames to sway, by transfering the load to end walls and resulting in substantial economy in the design of the frames. Specific utilization of the in-plane shear strength and stiffness of panelling was suggested more than 18 years ago, but unless this effect could be calculated in advance no practical use could be made. In order to take this contribution to stiffness and strength into account in engineering design, it was necessary to develop means for predicting the effective shear rigidity and ultimate strength in shear of the steel panel diaphragm. Because of the complexity of such diaphragm systems, up to now, engineers have relied upon tests of full-scale-panel assemblies, in which the performance of specific combinations of panels, marginal framing members and connections have been studied on a strictly ad hoc basis. While much has been learned using this approach, and valuable design information was obtained, no rational theory to describe and predict structural behavior has resulted. On the other hand, testing of large full scale diaphragm installations is expensive and time consuming, and tests results are applicable only to identical assembly using the same panels as tested, with directly equivalent fastening systems. The need for a general method of analysis is clear.


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

01 Jan 1971

Document Version

Final Version

Document Type

Technical Report

File Type