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High-performance lightweight steel framing structures

School of Engineering

About the Project

Lightweight steel framing (LSF) structures made of cold-formed steel (CFS) stud-walls and joisted floors are gaining growing popularity in the construction of low- to medium-rise buildings. The advantages they offer include ease of off-site manufacture, reduced material utilisation and waste, and low cost. Compared to hot-rolled steel sections, CFS sections are more susceptible to local buckling due to the large width-to-thickness ratio of their thin-walled elements.

The aim of this project is to enhance the design and performance of LSF structural systems subjected to various environmental and loading conditions. The specific objectives are:

- Develop detailed finite element modelling of the LSF components and connections validated against experiments to improve their load-bearing characteristics.

- Optimise design and manufacture of the LSF components incorporating practical and manufacturing constraints.
The developed design will provide a lightweight, sustainable and rapid solution for CFS construction, therefore contributing in the following UK government targets for 2025: (i) 50% reduction in the overall construction time of new build and refurbished assets; (ii) 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and whole life cost of assets; and (iii) 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

Successful completion of the project and publication of its results will likely lead to significant application in the CFS industry which is rapidly growing in the UK and overseas.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Civil/Structural Engineering.

Knowledge of: Steel structures and finite element modelling


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

The other supervisor on the project is Dr Amir Siddiq, School of Engineering ()

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A Bagheri Sabbagh (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

It is possible to undertake this project entirely by distance learning. Interested parties should contact Dr Bagheri Sabbagh to discuss this.

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Structural Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Additional research costs may be required depending on the scope of the project (£1,000-£2,000). Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


1. Shahini M., Bagheri Sabbagh A., Davidson P., Mirghaderi R. (2019). Development of cold-formed steel moment-resisting connections with bolting friction-slip mechanism for seismic applications. Thin-Walled Structures, 141, 217-231.
2. Ayhan D., Schafer B.W. (2019). Cold-formed steel ledger-framed construction floor-to-wall connection behavior and strength. J. Const. Steel Research. 156, 215-226.

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