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What is the difference between an H-beam and I-beam? How are they used differently?

What is the difference between an H-beam and I-beam? How are they used differently?
Issue Time:2018-06-04

    To those who don’t work with either these two may seem like very similar versions of the same thing.

    H sections are designed to take axial forces, as columns or piles (that is underground columns). While I sections are designed to be beams, bending in a single direction.

    H sections have a thicker web because the web is more likely to buckle under axial compression than under flexure. H sections also have thicker flanges as they too may buckle under axial compression. H sections tend to be very square, their width is similar to their height. 

    I sections are usually deeper than they are wide. Their webs are much more slender than the H sections, because the web is less likely to buckle when loaded in flexure.

    Summary: steel I beam’s cross section can bear direct pressure and good resistance to pull, but the the flange of cross-sectional dimensions is so narrow that it is not torsional. H-beam is opposite, so both of them have their pros and cons.


              h section             i section

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