Universal Beams

Universal beams are the typical 'steel girder' many people might think of when they imagine structural steel based on encountering it in a domestic or light commercial setting.

These strong steel beams are frequently used to support objects above, from serving as a window lintel or roof-supporting joist, to grids of universal beams used to carry the weight of a balcony or mezzanine, with universal columns to provide the vertical strength.

You may see universal beams referred to as I-beams for short, due to their resemblance to a capital letter I with an upright and two horizontal sections at the top and bottom.

These horizontal elements are the fillets, and are also referred to as flanges - two flanges make a fillet at each side of the beam.

With all of these elements, it is possible to very accurately specify the size of a universal beam, including measurements of its total depth, the depth between the fillets and, therefore, the thickness of the fillets themselves.

The 'root radius' is a measurement of the curvature between the flanges and the upright, or 'web', and the thickness of the web itself may differ from that of the fillets.

Combining all of this data gives the mass per metre for the universal beam, and this typically varies from as much as 388.0kg to as little as 67.1kg.