A Guide to Fabricated Structural Steel

January 3, 2018 9:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Structural steel comes in a variety of standardized shapes. This standardization means steel structures are largely made according to the same standards and processes worldwide. Because of this, a steel worker’s knowledge is universally applicable, making steel construction in Indiana and beyond one of the most flexible and mobile careers. In this guide, we’ll discuss steel standardization, including the most common shapes of structural steel, and also explore a few of the benefits of steel compared to other structural materials.

Standard steel shapes

The most commonly used steel shapes are all completely standardized, making it simple to gauge a projects material needs accurately from an AutoCAD design. The most common shapes are:

  • I-beam: An I-shaped beam is probably what you imagine when you think of structural steel. When you see old pictures of workers building New York’s skyscrapers, these are the beams you see them riveting into place. These are rugged structural pieces that often make up the backbones of large structures.
  • Z-shape: Usually roll-formed steel. Used for framing, and to secure rails and tracks, among its many other uses.
  • L-shape: Also usually roll-formed, L-shaped steel is generally used for framing. Because of this, most L-shaped steel is bent at a 90-degree angle (giving framed buildings those nice square corners).
  • Structural channel (C-beam): A C-beam is almost like half of an I-beam if you were to cut it vertically down its center. In fact, sometimes C-beams are welded together and used as nonstandard I-beams in a pinch. C-beams aren’t as commonly used in large-scale projects as I-beams, because with their off-centered bending axis, building something large scale with C-beams requires a bit of unintuitive math.
  • T-beams: These are ubiquitous in large-scale projects, such as overpasses and parking garages. A T-beam does not have a bottom flange, which means it requires some additional reinforcement to withstand bending. As with all of these shapes, the T-beam comes in a variety of standardized sizes for projects of different scales.
  • Others: There is a variety of other forms of steel, too, such as bar, rod, plate and sheet steel. Of these, rods are often used to reinforce concrete, while the others have limited use in construction and are often considered “raw” steel that is then converted into something else.

Benefits of standardized steel

The standards of steel are carefully designed with the needs of large-scale construction projects in mind. The steel is designed to withstand the horizontal and vertical pressures of bending and shearing. Each shape is exhaustively proscribed by international standards, which drastically decreases the complexity of any new large-scale build job, significantly cutting the number of calculations necessary for the design and construction phases. This also drastically decreases the cost of these projects, as the majority of the steel required for any project can usually be purchased from a mass producer. In terms of price, fire resistance, ease of construction and long-term durability, structural steel is about the best construction material out there for large-scale projects.

Learn more about steel construction in Indiana

If you’re embarking on a new steel construction project and are looking to make a large steel purchase, or are looking for a company to perform steel construction in Indiana, consider Benchmark Fabricated Steel. We’ve been in the steel construction business since 1971, and have probably more experience with challenging steel construction projects than anyone in the area. Give us a call today for a free estimate or to place an order.

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