If you are interested to know more about construction beams, here are some of the basic things you need to know more about:their uses, how they work, common sizes, dimensions and designs, as well as the going prices.
Beams are generally used in constructing buildings and carrying loads. Their two main characteristics are the following: the considerable difference between the length and the width, with the former being larger in size than the latter; and their ability to carry weight. When external, downward force is exerted on the beam, the material at its bottom is stretched in order to accommodate this downward tension: this incidence is known as beam bending. This produces a distribution of the stress, the degree of which engineers and scientists can calculate using the formula called Euler-Bernoulli beam equation.
Beams are made of a variety of materials, the most common of which are wood (making timber beams), reinforced concrete, iron, glulams (and other composite elements) steel, or steel mixed with other material (alloy steel). You'd be able to find beams as construction elements in buildings and bridges; simpler beam applications would even include a closet rod (where hangers are hung).
Types of beam designs include cantilever beams (wherein some parts of the beam protrude from its support poles, making for a floating effect); flitch beams (or lightweight beams made of alternate wood and steel layers); hip beams; and steel beams. This last is perhaps the most popular choice for construction.
Steel beams have many different types, but what is commonly regarded to be the most popular is the universal I beam (also known as wide flange beam), known for its strength and effectivity at supporting weights. The I beam has two types: the Steel W type and the Steel I type. The I beam is so named because of its I shape. It is very efficient at sustaining up-down pressures, therefore manifesting less tendency towards beam bending than other beam designs. Other steel shapes include C beams, L beams and tubes.
When ordering steel beams, some factors to take into consideration are the depth or height of the beam and the weight per unit length. Also, make sure to find out its load and cross-sectional capacity, to ensure that it will not experience too much beam bending. Though minimal beam bending is natural and not dangerous, it may still be very unsightly.
To find out the commercially available steel dimensions, you can go visit websites such as engineersedge.com, efunda.com, swedetracksaginawpipe.com. In some websites, you would also get to know of the prices of beams; such websites include beam-designs.co.uk. Make sure that you also consult professional engineers and steel fabrication experts in order to make sure that you are truly getting the appropriate steel dimensions and specifications that you would need.
By the way, during your search, you may encounter websites for the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois; of course, this is a totally different topic altogether. Good luck with your research, and happy steel beam hunting!