Thin-Walled Structures

Faculty Member: Dr. Cris Moen (with colleagues from the College of Engineering)

THIN-WALLED STRUCTURES –  interfacing structural mechanics, computational simulations, and experiments to better understand the physical behavior of thin-walled structural members

Cold-Formed Steel Framed Buildings

Cold-formed steel is a popular construction material in low and midrise commercial and residential building construction that gains it stiffness and strength through its shape. Recent advances in thin-walled structural analysis is motivating broad sweeping changes to design approaches and codes, especially for components (e.g., studs, joists) and systems (e.g., sheathed walls, pre-manufactured metal buildings) facing wind and seismic loads.

Specific research topics include:

  • Buckling and capacity of cold-formed steel members with holes
  • Cold work of forming and plasticity
  • Initial imperfection characterization with non-contact measurements
  • Computational simulations to collapse of cold-formed steel members and systems
  • Mechanics-based design methods and tools
  • Seismic design of cold-formed steel framed buildings
Cold-formed steel framing is used to construct midrise buildings
Cold-formed steel framing is used to construct midrise buildings
Cold-formed steel structural stud buckling modes including the influence of holes: (a) local buckling, (b) distortional buckling, (c) flexural-torsional buckling
Cold-formed steel structural stud buckling modes including the influence of holes: (a) local buckling, (b) distortional buckling, (c) flexural-torsional buckling

Aluminum Structures

Aluminum is a popular material used in naval structures because of its light weight and corrosion resistance.  Most design methods for naval structures were developed in the WWII era and are currently being updated with modern thin-walled analysis and tools.

Research topics include:

  • Buckling deformation and strength of L-stiffened aluminum ship wall and deck panels
  • Influence of friction stir welding on the structural behavior of thin-walled ship hulls
  • Multi-physics structural performance of thin-walled ship hulls at high temperatures

Multi-Functional Thin-Walled Structures

Multi-functional materials such as carbon fiber composites and those created with additive manufacturing (3D printing) can benefit many aspects of our society – from better bridge construction materials to more fuel efficient commercial aircraft to deep space vehicles that are resistant to space radiation.

Research topics include:

  • Tow steered composite tailoring to maximize capacity of thin-walled cylindrical tubes for aerospace applications
  • Multi-functional material structures – for example, lightweight cellular structures with zero coefficient of thermal expansion constructed with additive manufacturing
Tailored tow steered carbon fiber composites can increase buckling capacity of thin-walled elliptical cylinders
Tailored tow steered carbon fiber composites can increase buckling capacity of thin-walled elliptical cylinders