Steel universal beams are used as structural beams in the construction industry. Not only do they provide structural support to buildings, but the web of structural steel beams provides vital resistance to shear forces that could cause structures to break, tear apart, or collapse.
Universal beams are commonly used wherever an extra load-bearing capacity is required, for instance in floor framing and other applications. They often support the main structure of houses and are commonly installed under load-bearing walls.
Universal beams are I-shaped beams that are often described as RSJs (rolled steel joists) or H-beams. It is incorrect to refer to universal beams as U-beams although “UB” is often used as a reference for ordering products.
The two horizontal components of universal beams are known as flanges while the vertical section in the middle, between the two flanges, is the web. Simplistically, if you look at a universal beam in cross-section (when lying on the flange), it will look like a capital “I” that is shaped like a Roman numeral one. If it is turned so that it sits on the edges of the flange it will look like a squat capital H.
But there are important factors that relate to the way I-beams and H-beams (both universal beams) are used.
Generally, H-beams are a lot heavier than I-beams and have a thicker central web, which means they can take more force. Where weight and force on a wall pose a structural issue, lighter I-beams, which have a thinner central web, are usually a better option.
Universal beams are though always higher than they are wide and when the size is specified, the first dimension provided is always the height. The second dimension is always the width, and the third is the weight in kilograms per metre (km/m). In tables, each element will be clearly labelled and additional information including mass, thickness, and radius might be given. The order may not be the same.
The length of the web and the depth of the flanges of universal beams will depend on where the universal beam is to be used and the weight load it will be required to carry. Generally, a longer web will withstand more up and down force while the wider the flange the more side-to-side movement it will be able to resist.
There are two types of conventional I-beams or universal beams:
In the construction industry, I-beams are also made from aluminium, and I-joists are I-beams that are engineered from wood, fibreboard, or some type of laminated veneer lumber. While I-joists are commonly used for residential construction, the fact that they are lighter and not as prone to warping as solid wood joists, there is a caveat: they are not as fireproof. They are certainly not anywhere near as fireproof as structural steel universal beams.
Ultimately, universal beams create superior vertical force support than standard beams, however, they are not as strong when it comes to horizontal movement and twisting. An engineer or architect will specify what is required for the build.
While universal beams and universal columns look similar to one another, they have major differences based on functionality.
Parallel flange channels are also structural steel components, but they consist of a wider web that is frequently vertically orientated. They also feature flanges on both sides of the web, one at the top and the other at the bottom, that stick out on only one side of the web.
BlueScope Distribution manufactures all its steel products, including universal beams, to high-quality levels using the best rolling mills and finishing equipment.
Manufactured according to strict Australian standards, universal beams are available in a wide range of sizes for use in engineering, residential, and non-residential construction as well as in the manufacturing, transport and storage industries, and to cater for mining infrastructure.
All BlueScope Distribution suppliers manufacture in Australia, which ensures that there is consistent quality.
Standard light universal beams range in size from 150 mm to 410 mm, including 180 mm, 200 mm, 250 mm, 310 mm, and 360 mm. Heavy universal beams are available in three sizes: 460 mm, 530 mm, and 610 mm.
Standard section lengths vary from 9 m to 20 m with 9 m, 10.5 m, 12 m, 13.5 m, and 15 m lengths available in all sizes. Longer lengths are not usually available in anything less than 310 mm universal beams. Section depth is also greater for heavy universal beams. Non-standard lengths up to 30 m are available.
The hot rolled steel universal beams from BlueScope Distribution are manufactured to exceed AS/NZS 3679.1 Grade 300, which is the standard grade manufactured nationally for welded products.
Ultimately, there are so many variables in terms of depth of sections, flange width and thicknesses, web thickness, and the depth between flanges, that designers, architects, and engineers are usually able to order standard products. If customers need steel grades that fall outside of our standard range, BlueScope can investigate and produce these.
Whatever our customers order is covered by test certificates too. We respond to customer needs quickly and are able to accommodate scheduling and delivery requirements even when there are changes. We pride ourselves on being able to meet all critical deadlines.
So if you need universal beams for your construction project, BlueScope Distribution is your go-to company. Call us today to discuss your needs in detail.