Design & Detailing of Metal Stud Wall Systems in Response to Air-Blast Loading Effects

May 30, 2013

In this paper we present design and detailing concepts of metal stud wall systems for achieving a predictable performance when subject to air-blast loading effects. These systems are commonly used for exterior cladding and interior partition systems and while they can provide both strength and ductility their performance is highly dependent on proper detailing to minimize buckling effects and connection failure. As a result, current practice assumes more conventional design and detailing methods and penalizes the designer with restrictive deformation limits that leads to labor intensive and costly designs. Due to lack of available testing data, current practice either restricts metal stud performance to low deformation limits or attempts to yield the section under full tension membrane action. The first approach is limiting in its application under even moderate blast loading without the need for heavy robust sections due to the minimal extent of allowable deformation, typically in the range of 1- to 2-deg. The second approach, while effective in providing high resistance to blast loading due to the absorption of energy through excessive deformation, requires specialized connections that are both costly and difficult to install. We focus on the transition region between these two responses, where the metal stud section has yielded and the performance is governed by the behavior of its connections and its ability to maintain stability under buckling effects such as web crippling and lateral torsional buckling. Using a combination of available test data and design examples, this paper examines the performance of metal studs within the plastic region. It discusses conventional construction methods and their ability to provide blast resistance, as well as provide design and detailing guidance for architects, engineers, and light gage framing sub-contractors to achieve a high level of performance, while minimizing cost and constructability issues.

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2013 Structures Congress, Proceedings of the 2013 Structures Congress, ASCE

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