Quantifying the Lateral Bracing Provided by Standing Seam Roof Systems

Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Marc Maguire


Marc Maguire


Marvin Halling


Joseph A. Caliendo


One of the major challenges of engineering is finding the proper balance between economical and safe. Currently engineers at Nucor Corporation have ignored the additional lateral bracing provided by standing seam roofing systems to joists because of the lack of methods available to quantify the amount of bracing provided. Based on the results of testing performed herein, this bracing is significant, potentially resulting in excessively conservative designs and unnecessary costs.

This project performed 26 tests with Vulcraft joists in a pressure box to investigate the effects of how many variables influence the lateral bracing provided to joists from standing seam roofing systems, including the variables joist length, panel gauge, clip height, thermal block presence, insulation thickness, and top chord size. Two methods were developed to account for this additional bracing: finite element computer modeling and an application of the Rayleigh-Ritz method called the Column-on-Elastic-Foundation Method.

Variables influencing the pressure at failure, namely chord size and deck gauge, were those with the greatest effect on additional lateral bracing provided from standing seam roof systems. It was determined that higher roof stiffness values and higher failure pressures yield shorter effective lengths.

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