The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), in partnership with the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, has published a report on the results of a research project that developed a new Direct Strength Method (DSM)-based design method for cold-formed steel (CFS) beam-columns. The new method advances knowledge of the behavior of cold-formed steel beam-columns and results in more economical designs for cold-formed steel members subject to combined bending and compression. The research report, titled “RP16-3: Direct Strength Prediction of Cold-Formed Steel Beam-Columns,” is available for free download here.

The project team, which included faculty from The Johns Hopkins University and Drexel University who are members of AISI’s Committee on Specifications for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members, conducted tests to validate the performance of the new proposed Direct Strength Method for beam-columns and developed new strength expressions for each limit state. The report provides a detailed analysis of the research process and results, as well as technology transfer to introduce design professionals to the new method and its related tools.

“The Direct Strength Method enables a unified, robust and flexible design approach for cold-formed steel shapes that enables lower-cost steel construction,” said Jay Larson, P.E., managing director of AISI’s Construction Technical Program. “We undertook this research to apply DSM specifically to cold-formed steel beam-columns because it has the potential to provide a more mechanically sound solution to determining their strength, eliminates excessive conservativism, and encourages the next generation of optimized, high-performance, cold-formed steel shapes.”