The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Standards Council has selected five winning research proposals for its 2017 Small Project Fellowship Program, it was announced today. AISI’s Small Project Fellowship Program was launched in 2014 to identify and provide funding for research projects that will significantly impact the reliability, performance, and cost-competitiveness of cold-formed steel (CFS) framing products in a variety of end-use applications.

The Small Project Fellowship Program provides a streamlined mechanism for AISI’s standards development committees (the Committee on Specifications and the Committee on Framing Standards), industry stakeholders, academics and students to collaborate on relatively short-term, highly focused, and mutually beneficial projects. Project selections are based on several factors, including the potential for long-term impact on the industry; steel industry engagement and co-funding; and results for the AISI standards development committees, the student, and the academic institution.  

The winning research proposals and academic institutions for 2017 are:

  • “Major Improvement of Level of Development (LOD) Specification for Cold-Formed Steel Framing Construction” – University of North Texas. This project will improve the existing provisions for cold-formed steel framing in the 2016 LOD Specification for the Building Information Models (BIMs) of metal building systems. It will address framing details, technical terms, and graphic presentations of cold-formed steel framing to better differentiate between the exterior and interior provisions. The objective is to enhance BIM (which streamlines communication among architects, engineers, contractors and fabricators) for cold-formed steel building products. The primary impact will be on cold-formed steel framing and metal building systems.                                                             
  • “Computational Shear Wall Design Utilizing Fastener Testing” – The Johns Hopkins University. This project will provide results needed by AISI’s Committee on Framing Standards Lateral Design Subcommittee to evaluate the use of an analysis-based alternative for the prediction of shear wall capacity of cold-formed steel framed wood and gypsum sheathed shear walls in a wind or seismic event. The objective is to provide a computational model that provides more efficient shear wall designs that are integrated into the building design details, taking a closer step toward performance-based design. The primary impact will be on cold-formed steel framing systems.   
  • “Experimental Database of Transverse Fillet Welds” – The Johns Hopkins University. This project will enable researchers to build an experimental database that enables them to evaluate and update the transverse fillet weld design equations in AISI S100, North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members. The primary impact will be on cold-formed steel framing, steel storage racks and steel joists.
  • “Direct Strength Prediction of Purlins With Paired Torsion Braces” – Old Dominion University. This project will refine and verify a direct strength procedure (vs. the conventional assumption of constrained bending distribution) to predict the strength of purlins with paired torsion braces. It will provide a better understanding of the flexural strength and stability of purlin systems and move the industry toward a direct analysis methodology. The procedure has the potential to minimize or eliminate the need to perform base tests to determine the flexural strength of such systems. The primary impact will be on cold-formed steel purlin roof framing systems.  
  • “Experimental Testing of Steel Deck Flexural Capacity” – Milwaukee School of Engineering. This project will build on previous research conducted to apply the Direct Strength Method to steel deck, which demonstrated a divergence from the capacity as predicted by the Effective Width Method. The project will close the information gap by flexural testing steel deck panels and comparing the tested capacity to the capacities predicted by both methods. Results are expected to lead to more cost-effective construction. The primary impact will be on cold-formed steel deck construction.

“The research conducted through the Small Project Fellowship Program since 2014 has advanced our knowledge of cold-formed steel behavior and established improved design methods for a variety of cold-formed steel applications,” said Jay Larson, P.E., F.ASCE, managing director of AISI’s Construction Technical Program. “By combining academic and industry expertise and sharing funding with several partners, the program has engaged academia, industry and students in unique opportunities for mentoring and research while delivering results to the industry in a cost-effective and efficient manner.”

AISI’s Standards Council initiates cold-formed steel standards development projects and maintains accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).