Universal Steel Columns

Universal columns are similar in appearance to universal beams, but typically have a wider flange or fillet. 

The flange is the ‘fin’ of steel running along the length of the column, and there are four of these, giving the column a distinctive shape similar to a capital letter I or H.

Each pair of neighbouring flanges is a fillet, while the cross-section joining the two fillets is the web.

Specifying the size of a universal column requires several dimensions – the depth of the cross-section of the column (including the fillets), the depth of the web (or the thickness of the fillets) and the thickness of the web.

The width of the cross-section, determined by the width of the flanges, allows its total cross-sectional area or ‘footprint’ to be determined.

And the root radius gives the measure of the curvature between the web and the flange, where this needs to be known.

With broader fillets comes a typically higher mass per metre, and universal columns range from 23.0kg per metre for a 152.4mm x 152.2mm section, to 633.9kg per metre for a 474.6mm x 424.0mm section.

The exact mass depends on the thicknesses of the metal and on the root radius too, and as such the product designations for universal columns often incorporate the mass per metre as a general catch-all description of the product.