Engineering Students Take on New Challenge in International Cold-Formed Steel Design Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2013 – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) is joining the National Science Foundation (NSF), Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute (CFSEI), and the University of North Texas as a co-sponsor in the third International Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design. The competition is open to all full-time students at either the undergraduate or graduate levels who are interested in cold-formed steel design, creative in problem solving, and eager to learn new technologies. The competition was launched this month and will conclude on September 15, 2013. 

The competition is unique in that step-by-step instructions and free software are provided so that any student, regardless of the major area of study, can complete and submit a cold-formed steel design.

“During the first two years, we received such a positive international response to this competition that we decided to extend the submission deadline until September so that more students could participate,” Jay Larson, P.E., F.ASCE, managing director of AISI’s Construction Technical Program, said. “Our judges have been impressed with the quality of the solutions offered by the students. This year’s problem focuses on designing an open section shape, with several requirements that will challenge our future engineering workforce to use state-of-the-art design software to come up with a creative steel solution.”

“This competition is a great avenue for students to get to know the beauty of cold-formed steel structures, which is the ‘green’ way of constructing buildings,” Cheng Yu, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of North Texas and the competition organizer, said. “Cold-formed steel allows engineers to produce optimal shapes to accommodate service needs while utilizing a minimal amount of raw materials.”

The 2013 International Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design is hosted by the University of North Texas and requires that students work on the problem individually, with no team solutions accepted. Participants can view the problem and contest rules at  Students will use an open source CUFSM to perform the elastic buckling analysis to determine critical elastic buckling loads. (CUFSM is software that employs the finite strip method to provide solutions for the cross-section stability of thin-walled cold-formed steel members.)

Students will submit a completed information form, design essay and CUFSM result file by September 15, 2013. A panel of judges will review all entries and announce the winners in December 2013, with awards mailed in January 2014.

The panel of judges is nationally recognized in the area of cold-formed steel design and includes:

  • Cheng Yu, Ph.D., associate professor and organizer of the 2013 International Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design, University of North Texas
  • Rick Haws, P.E., engineer, NBS Group Services, A Nucor Company
  • Roger A. LaBoube, Ph.D., P.E., Distinguished Teaching Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Yuanqi Li, Ph.D., professor, Tongji University, China
  • Yared Shifferaw Bayleyegn, Ph.D., assistant professor, Drexel University

Monetary awards will be provided to the top three winners, and each of the top 10 winners will receive a one-year student membership in the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute (CFSEI). The winning designs will be recognized and exhibited at selected professional conferences. For more information on the competition, please contact Cheng Yu, Ph.D., at or 940.565.2022 (Tel).

AISI’s codes and standards work is conducted under the Construction Market Council of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of AISI, which oversees the industry’s investment in advancing the competitive use of steel by meeting the demands of the marketplace. For more information on SMDI’s Construction Market program, visit

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 123 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent over three-quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s website at .

Debbie Bennett

Lisa Harrison