Super Stud Building Products has donated cold-formed steel framing system materials for a study being conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The study explores the structural response of cold-formed steel stud assemblies (i.e., stud and track) with partial bearing conditions. Dr. Kara Peterman and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be leading the study which will be conducted throughout the summer. Peterman, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was recently recognized for her work with cold-formed steel framing, having won the prominent 2018 Norman Medal, the highest honor granted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The theory behind the study suggests that wall framing with partial bearing conditions (i.e., not fully bearing on a concrete slab) may result in reduced axial capacities: for both the wall and the slab. The behavior of structural systems on concrete slabs due to cold-formed steel member instabilities is not well documented or understood at this time, and currently cold-formed steel design specifications provide little guidance. Much data exists on the performance of axially-compressed studs and stud assemblies, but in previous work, the concrete slabs are assumed to provide rigid uniform support resulting in a uniform stress distribution on the stud end.

The UMass Amherst study provides an integral experimental and numerical investigation of the stability response of the studs under partial bearing conditions in order to quantify the reduction of their axial capacities, and Super Stud’s framing system will be subject to a variety of performance stress tests and partial bearing conditions to validate the research hypothesis. The research conducted will quantify the impact of the concrete slab as a flexible or semi-rigid support.  It will also quantify the impact of the edge distance on the axial capacity of stud-track assemblies.

The non-uniform bearing stress underneath the stud caused by concrete cracking, crushing, or a combination thereof will be measured to relate with the reduction of the axial capacity of the stud. The results of this study will be used to develop design guidelines for stud wall assembly under non-uniform bearing conditions. “Super Stud is at the forefront of cold-formed steel framing research and resources,” says Don Allen, P.E., Director of Engineering at Super Stud Building Products. “We value the importance of education, research and our continued support in advancing the impact of the benefits of cold-formed steel framing in the construction industry. Our values of safety and commitment to the steel framing innovations make our donation to UMass worthwhile.”

Super Stud Building Products will be coordinating with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and monitor the study as it continues to develop, and valuable cold-formed steel industry insights take shape. In addition to Super Stud’s contribution, additional project funding is provided by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).