With the industrial revolution came the rise of increase in demand for metals and steels. In today’s world of amazing architectural buildings and skyscrapers structural steels have its own space of importance and use. When it comes to coping with the needs for a range of building demands, structural steel has its own inventory that comes in various types of shapes and sizes. Engineers and architects cannot stop geeking over the various ideas they have for building infrastructures and buildings with the help of their imagination, some science and of course structural steel. So basically structural steel is the base that all architectural and engineer imaginations are built on.
Some of the most common types of structural steel shapes available today are given below:
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S shaped beams or the American Standard beams are generally known as S beam. S Shaped beam was the first beam section rolled in America. They are rolled with two parallel flanges and connected by a web and are also called the American standard beam. The standard American beam can be distinguished by its cross section which is shaped like the letter I. This type of beam feature tapered edges which offer more strength compared to wide-flange shaped beams. So this means that the flanges on S-shaped beams are relatively narrow. They are electromagnetically transparent, non-conductive with thermal insulation and are cheaper to maintain. Since they are more affordable, it makes them a frequent choice for the fabricators while choosing the beams to work with. They can also be easily cut to meet your requirements. S-Shaped beams also have a resistant feature to industrial and environmental corrosives. Since they are available in various sizes it makes it the best choice for general fabrication, structural applications, repairs and machining. They are mostly used in used in monorails and crane runways. American standard beams are still and strong but at the same time easy to drill. On the contrary they do rust easily but can also be easily primed or painted. The builder gets the information about each unit’s width and weight by the designation of the beam. For example, S12x50 is a type of beam that is 12 inches deep and weighs 50 pounds per foot. This type of beams are best fitted while making commercial buildings, hoists, lifts and other types of structures that require strength and stability. The dimensions of the standard S shaped beams are defined in the annex of ASTM A 6/A 6M standard.
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H shaped beam or also referred to as an I-Beam are best used for various applications like frameworks and support piles. They are rolled steel with H shaped cross section. The two parallel flanges have an equal thickness and the inside surface has no taper. H beam relies on a strong web to withstand shear forces while the flanges helps in avoiding bending movements which means it is very strong. H beam is classified into medium, wide and narrow based on the flange width and height. H beam may be built up which means it can be built up to any size or height. H beam consists of three pieces of metal where they all together in a bevel and look like one piece of metal. When we compare H beams with the standard beams the H design of the H beams gives a better distribution of weight over a wider area which inturn gives it the ability to support heavier and larger structures. This gives engineers the confidence while building grand projects without having the doubt of causing complications in the project because of weak beams. The H shape is highly effective at transferring load via the pile to the tip even though they can be designed for skin friction. Individual piles are tested for more than 1000 tons and are highly efficient in soil that is dense and that offer pile resistance at the tip for point bearing capacity. If you are looking to build a pile system on rock then there is no competition for piling system that is better than H piles which is also referred to as HP or HBP. H beams are frequently used as bearing piles for deep foundation uses and are driven to the ground for the purpose of supporting buildings, stadiums, bridges, factories and almost every other type of structure. They also have other uses like bracing systems for cofferdams, and lagging walls. Steel H beams have been in use for marine structures and deep foundation for over a century.
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L shaped beams or also known as steel angle bars are best suited and used for framing, floor support systems and other various applications. They have two legs that meet at a 90 degree angle to make an L shape. They come in equal as well as unequal sizes depending on the requirement of what you are trying to build. While constructing structural steel brackets and cleat connections the L shaped beams are mostly used whereas the unequal beams are commonly used in floor systems and as lintels. Talking about uses, the most common use of L shaped beam is for Framing and it can also be used for trim, reinforcements, brackets and various other uses. They are really effective in providing support without taking up a lot of space.
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Structural C-shaped channels which is also known as C beams, consists of cross section that is C-shaped. The channels in a c-shaped beam has top and bottom flanges consisting of a web connecting them together. So the top and bottom plates of a C channel are called flanges and the vertical plate that connects the flanges are called web. If you are manufacturing short -to medium-span structures then C-shaped beam is the best cost-effective solution for it. Originally channel beams were designed for bridges, but now they are popular for various building applications and use in marine piers. Talking about its uses it is typically used in manufacturing machinery, enclosure and vehicles. The regions where the flat back side of the web of a C-shaped can be mounted to another flat surface for maximum contact area is where the Channels or C-shaped beams oftenly used. While forming a non-standard I-beam C-shaped beams are also sometimes welded back-to-back. The C-shaped beams are not used as much as symmetrical beams in construction because its bending axis is not centered on the width of the flanges. The beam tend to twist away from the web if a load is applied equally across its top. Now this is just for your information as a factor to be considered as this may not be a weak point or problem for a particular design. The C-channel or also called the structural channel is differentiated from I-beam, H-beam or W-beam having flanges on both sides of the web. Talking about the materials that the C channels are manufactured, they are generally made up of steel, aluminum and stainless steel. The method used to manufacture C channels beams are hot rolling and extrusion method.
A hollow steel section is a type of metal profile which has a hollow cross section. There are various shapes of hollow steel sections. It can either be circular, square, or rectangular sections, other shapes such as elliptical can also be found. People sometimes make the mistake of referring hollow steel section as hollow structural steel. You can also find Rectangular and square HSS that are commonly called tube steel or box section. On the other hand the circular HSS are also mistakenly called steel pipe, even though true steel pipe is classified differently from HSS. HSS have heavily rounded corners with a radius approximately twice the thickness of the wall. The thickness of the wall equal around the section.
The most common use of HSS, especially the rectangular sections, are in welded steel frames where loading is experienced by members in multiple directions. The efficiency in shapes is better in the Square and circular HSS for this multiple-axis loading as they are geometrically equal along two or more cross-sectional axes, which is the reason for uniform strength. This is the main reason that makes them good choices for columns. In addition they are also torsion resistant.
I-beam shapes or wide flange are more efficient structural shape to be used as beams but HSS can also be used as beams. The thing to keep in mind is that, the HSS has superior resistance to lateral torsional buckling.
The flat square surfaces of rectangular HSS can help to ease construction, which is the reason why they are sometimes preferred for architectural designs in open structures, although elliptical HSS are the more popular ones in open structures for the same reasons.
Tee Beams, T Section Beams or T Bar are T-shaped cross-section constructed by cutting a beam down the middle, along or through the web, leaving a flange and a stem in the shape of the letter T. Tee Beams are structural element capable of withstanding large loads by resistance in the beam or through internal reinforcements. Talking about the history of T-beams it goes back to the time when a person constructed a bridge with a pier and a deck. They are generally made of plain carbon steel. The materials used to make T-beams might have changed in the modern times but the basic structure still is the same. Tees are usually used as reinforcing elements for shipbuilding, tanks, and canopies. They are manufactured by using the methods of hot rolling, extrusion and plate welding which are often used for general fabrication.
The T-beam design may seem simple but it contains various design elements. A T-beam does not have a bottom flange like an I-beam which is good for saving materials but that also have a side effect as it loses resistance to tensile forces. Although when it comes to parking garages, the lack of a bottom flange on a T-beam has an advantage as the stem rests on the shelf making the flange the upper deck.
One of the issues with the T-beam when we compare it with an I-beam is again the absence of the bottom flange. This is an issue because it makes the beam less versatile due to the weaker side not having the flange inturn making it have less tensile strength. Now concrete beams are usually poured integrally with the slab making a stronger T-beam with more resistance. The reason why these beams are very efficient is because the slab portion has the compressive loads and the reinforcing bars placed at the bottom of the stem does the work to carry the tension.