One of the most used elements of structural steel used in the construction of residential homes, high rise buildings or skyscrapers and bridges is the I-beam. Using these and other structural steel beams, people are able to design and construct building using less raw materials that are fire proof and safer.

I-beams made with structural steel are formed in the shape of a capital letter “I”. The longer bar in the middle is called the web and the two parallel lines on either side of the beam are called the flanges. These structural steel beams may also be called wide flanges and can either be termed a “w” section or an “s” section depending on the curve or angle of the structural steel flanges in the beam.

I-beams are extremely versatile in the construction industry as they can be used as beams when installed horizontally or as columns when placed vertically. Structural steel I-beams can either be made through hot rolling or cold rolling which forms this structural element into one piece of steel. Alternatively, I-beams can be made by manually connecting a web with two flanges through welding or other processes. These I-beams are not as durable and are less expensive as those created using a single rolling process.

Concrete used with I-beams and other structural steel beams are commonly used in construction. The structural steel pieces are connected to a concrete slab for ceilings or floorings in two ways. If the structural I-beam and concrete slab is placed above it, it will act independently structurally. In other words, the steel will carry its own weight and the concrete will as well in what is called a non-composite system. When a shear stud is integrated into a structural steel I-beam by being drilled into the web itself before a concrete slab is cast above it, the concrete slab and the I-beam will then be reinforced and will form one load bearing or composite unit, which is will be able to carry a far heavier load than a non-composite structure.