A Guide to Structural Steel Fabrication Shapes – Strengths and Advantages
There are many unique structural steel shapes that we utilize in our wide range of industrial fabrication projects. Some structural configurations are designed for simplicity, some are engineered for flexibility and compliance, while other shapes provide maximum strength and rigidity.
Choosing the optimum structural steel design for every aspect of each product requires a careful consideration of the desired performance attributes. Moreover, most complex industrial fabrications are manufactured from a variety of different structural types, all working in conjunction to achieve the level of strength needed without interfering upon other design aspects.
That’s why creating fully optimized structural steel products demands years of hands-on-metal experience – more than 35 years, in the case of Alloy Fabrication. Below, we go more in depth about the basic designs, advantages, and applications of the most common structural steel shapes that we manufacture in our facility.
Common Structural Steel Shapes Compared – Advantages and Applications
S-Beams – The American Standard Beam – S-beams, also known as the American Standard Beam, are rolled beams featuring two parallel flanges and a central connecting web. The flanges are designed with tapered edges to maximize strength – which would otherwise require much wider flanges. S-beams deliver an extremely high level of strength and stability, making them ideal for various commercial building applications, industrial structures and installations, as well as lifting and hoisting equipment.
L-Beams (Angle Beams) – Also referred to as steel angle bars or angle beams, L-beams are relatively simple structural fabrications, featuring two straight legs connected at a 90-degree angle. Angle beams often cost less than their counterparts, generally take up less space, and are ideal for basic bracing, framing, and flooring applications.
I-Beams and H-Beams –I-beams are sometimes referred to interchangeably as H-beams. They both feature parallel flanges with a vertical web and a similar cross-sectional profile. A major difference is that I-beams have tapered flanges, whereas H-beams have a rectangular profile with wider straight flanges. This gives H-beams a greater moment of inertia to resist bending, making them more suitable for use as load-bearing columns. I-beams, in comparison, are generally lighter and offer a higher strength-to-weight ratio due to the tapering.
T-Beams (Tee Beams) – Simpler in design than many other structural steel shapes, tee-beams feature a single flange and stem in a T-shape configuration. T-beams are less commonly used in today’s industrial fabrication projects, generally in favor of I-beams due to their higher strength afforded by the additional flange.
C-Beams (Channel Beams) – Commonly referred to as channel beams or C-channels, C-beams feature a C-shaped profile with one-sided flanges connected to the top and bottom of a wide web. This unique configuration allows for maximum surface contact for flat mounting, and allows the beam to remain flexible while still exhibiting extremely high strength. Channel beams are therefore commonly used for architectural applications like building supports, framework, and even bridges.
Quality American Fabrication Solutions Since 1987
Based out of Reading, Pennsylvania, Alloy provides complete custom fabrication services for the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Family-owned and operated since 1987, our company is proud to stand as one of the nation’s premier industrial fabricators.