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Lightweight Steel Undergoes Seismic Testing

Posted on: 06/20/2013
A partnership of earthquake engineering researchers from U.S. and Canadian universities, as well as design professionals from the steel industry, have begun the final phase of a three-year project to increase the seismic safety of buildings that use lightweight cold-formed steel for their primary beams and columns.

Funded by a grant from the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Network (NEES), the researchers have already developed a series of computational models to determine how a complete building structure will perform during an earthquake.

The initial stage in the testing involved the construction of a two-story structure for testing on a "shake table" at the University of Buffalo. Phase One of the process will test only the structural components, which include the cold-formed steel skeleton and the OSB (oriented strand board) sheathing for the floor diaphragm and roof. Phase Two will add non-structural components like stairs, gypsum sheathing, and interior partitions. The objective is to advance cold-formed steel light-frame design in buildings to the next level and equip engineers to implement these performance-based seismic designs in their projects.

The data from the research is published on NEEShub, the cyberinfrastructure component of the NEES network.

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