Steel beams are a crucial raw material for the construction industry. The skeletal structure of a building or a bridge is usually comprised of different types of steel beams to add strength and improve the load bearing capacity of the structure. Steel beams provide the necessary support to buildings and other structures.
What are steel beams?
Steel beams look like two long steel plates called flanges, connected by a perpendicular steel plate called a web. Technically, a steel beam is two steel legs connected in the middle by a web of flattened steel.
How is a steel beam manufactured?
Structural steel plates are the raw materials used for the construction of beams. First, a rectangular steel plate is placed horizontally on a flat surface. Two steel plates are attached vertically on the opposite ends of the horizontal steel plate such that the whole structure forms and I shape or an H shape. The beam-to-beam connection of steel structures is done with the help of welding.
Steel beams can also be formed by hot rolling steel. Here hot rolled steel is fed into a machine that creates the shape of a beam cross section with the help of automated machines. These machines can be fed the dimensions of the steel beams being produced to get customised sizes as desired by the clients.
Types of steel beams
There are two main types of steel beams used in the construction industry:
- H beam
H beams have wide flanges connected by a short web forming an H shape. These are the heaviest steel beams with more bending resistance and can therefore support heavy loads.
- I beam
I beams have two flanges perpendicularly connected by a wide web running through the middle of the cross section. Compared to an H beam I beam has a thicker web and shorter flanges just like the English alphabet ‘I’. These beams are generally used as steel frames and other vital support elements.
Advantages of using of steel beams in construction
One of the most important benefits of using steel beams for construction is the support it provides to the entire structure. Here are some of the main advantage of steel beams in construction:
- Fire and corrosion resistant
- Good tensile strength to withstand external pressures like earthquakes
- Can be customised according to preferences (Steel beam sizes vary according to different manufacturers)
- Provides structural integrity and safety
- Strong resistance to various weather conditions
- Resistant to termite or rodent attacks
Applications of steel beams
There are many uses of steel beams within the construction industry:
- To build platforms such as the middle floors of a skyscraper, or the upper floor of a warehouse.
- To build bridges with high load bearing capacity
- To build low rise commercial centers
- To build frames for trolley ways, elevators, trailers, and even truck beds
- To build decks of cargo ships
The structural integrity and the load bearing capacity of steel beams depend on the grade of steel used in the construction of the beams.
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