Benjamin W. Schafer, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, is the recipient of the Shortridge Hardesty Award for his contributions to the development of the Direct Design Method and its free software implementation that considers the interactions between local, global, and distortional modes of buckling in thin-walled members.
Swirnow Family Scholar, professor, and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Schafer is the preeminent authority on the behavior of cold-formed steel members. His program CUFSM .05 (Elastic Buckling Analysis of Thin-Walled Members with general end boundary conditions) is a valuable tool, for both designers and researchers alike, for evaluating the buckling behavior of thin-walled members. This software, which is distributed freely on his website, recognizes the interaction between local, global, and distortional modes of buckling.
Among Schafer’s contributions are the codification of the initial imperfections typically found in cold-formed steel members; development and continuous improvement of the Direct Strength Method, a very efficient stability-based design approach for cold-formed steel members; a better understanding of member distortional buckling behavior; and the development of the finite strip code CUFSM, which performs stability analyses of thin-walled members and is universally used by the technical and scientific communities working with thin-walled steel members.
Editor of the Cold-Formed Steel Structures: Special Issue of ASCE’s Journal of Structural Engineering, his work has led to the Direct Strength Method, which has been incorporated into several specifications around the world, including the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members.