H-beam vs I-beam: Differences between an H-beam and an I-beam

Both H-beam and I-beams are structural steel materials used widely in the construction industry by civil engineering professionals. By a novice, both these members may seem to be similar. The horizontal elements of the I and H beam are known as flanges, while the vertical element is called as the “web”. The web resists shear forces, and the flanges are designed to resist most of the bending moment that the beam experiences.

In general, The design of both I-beam and H-beam are governed by any of the following criteria:

  • deflection: Target criteria should be to minimize deformation
  • vibration: the stiffness and mass are should be decided based on vibration tendency.
  • bending failure by yielding
  • bending failure by lateral torsional buckling
  • bending failure by local buckling
  • local yield due to high magnitude of concentrated loads.
  • shear failure
  • buckling or yielding of components

However, both are quite different from one another. In this article, We will explore the main differences between I-beam and H-beam.

What is an H-beam?

H-beam is an incredibly strong structural steel member. As the cross-section of this beam resembles the capital letter “H”, it is known as H-beam. Fig. 1 shows a typical example of an H-beam.

H-beam Example
Fig. 1: H-beam Example

H-beams have an equal thickness in the two parallel flanges without any taper on the inside surface. Depending on the height and flange width; H-beams are classified into three categories. They are

  • Wide Flange Series H-beam
  • Medium Flange Series H-beam and
  • Narrow Flange Series H-beam.

H-beam Size Chart

Typical H-beam size and weight chart is provided in the table below: Refer to Fig. 2

H beam size and weight chart: Wide Flange Series (HW)

Grade

Size of the Section (in mm)

Cross-Sectional Area

Weight

Member Designation

H

B

t1

t2

r

cm2

kg/m

100 X 100

100

100

6

8

10

21.9

17.19

100x100x6x8

125 X 125

125

125

6.5

9

10

30.31

23.79

125x125x6.5×9

150 X 150

150

150

7

10

13

40.55

31.83

150x150x7x10

175 X 175

175

175

7.5

11

13

51.43

40.37

175x175x7.5×11

200 X 200

200

200

8

12

16

64.28

50.46

200x200x8x12

200

204

12

12

16

72.28

56.74

200x204x12x12

250 X 250

250

250

9

14

16

92.18

72.36

250x250x9x14

250

255

14

14

16

104.68

82.17

250x255x14x14

H beam size and weight chart: Medium Flange Series (HM)

150 X 100

148

100

6

9

13

27.25

21.39

148x100x6x9

200 X 150

194

150

6

9

16

39.76

31.21

194x150x6x9

250 X 175

244

175

7

11

16

56.24

44.15

244x175x7x11

300 X 200

294

200

8

12

20

73.03

57.33

294x200x8x12

H beam size and weight chart: Narrow Flange Series (HN)

175 X 90

175

90

5

8

10

23.21

18.22

175x90x5x8

200 X 100

198

99

4.5

7

13

23.59

18.52

198x99x4.5×7

200

100

5.5

8

13

27.57

21.64

200x100x5.5×8

250 X 125

248

124

5

8

13

32.89

25.82

248x124x5x8

250

125

6

9

13

37.87

29.73

250x125x6x9

H-beam Cross Section
Fig. 2: H-beam Cross Section (Reference for table dimensions)

What is an I-beam?

I-beams are also structural steel members but their cross sections resemble the capital letter “I”. Consisting of two flanges and one web, an I-beam has a slope on the inner surface of the flanges. Depending on the use, I-beam sections are available in a range of weights, flange widths, section, depth, web thickness. Fig. 3 below shows a typical example of I-beams.

I-beam example
Fig. 3: I-beam example

I-beam Size Chart

I-beam size chart for some common structural sections are provided below:

Designation

Dimensions

 
 

Depth
– H –
(mm)

Width
– B –
(mm)

Web Thickness
– d –
(mm)

Cross Sectional Area
(cm2)

Weight
(kg/m)

 

UB 127 x 76 x 13

127

76

4

16.5

13

 

UB 152 x 89 x 16

152.4

88.7

4.5

20.3

16

 

UB 178 x 102 x 19

177.8

101.2

4.8

24.3

19

 

UB 203 x 102 x 23

203.2

101.8

5.4

29.4

23.1

 

UB 203 x 133 x 25

203.2

133.2

5.7

32

25.1

 

UB 203 x 133 x 30

206.8

133.9

6.4

38.2

30

 

UB 254 x 102 x 22

254

101.6

5.7

28

22

 

UB 254 x 102 x 25

257.2

101.9

6

32

25.2

 

UB 254 x 102 x 28

260.4

102.2

6.3

36.1

28.3

 

UB 254 x 146 x 31

251.4

146.1

6

39.7

31.1

 

UB 254 x 146 x 37

256

146.4

6.3

47.2

37

 

UB 254 x 146 x 43

259.6

147.3

7.2

54.8

43

 

UB 305 x 102 x 25

305.1

101.6

5.8

31.6

24.8

 

UB 305 x 102 x 28

308.7

101.8

6

35.9

28.2

 

UB 305 x 102 x 33

312.7

102.4

6.6

41.8

32.8

 

UB 305 x 127 x 37

304.4

123.4

7.1

47.2

37

 

UB 305 x 127 x 42

307.2

124.3

8

53.4

41.9

 

UB 305 x 127 x 48

311

125.3

9

61.2

48.1

 

UB 305 x 165 x 40

303.4

165

6

51.3

40.3

 

UB 305 x 165 x 46

306.6

165.7

6.7

58.8

46.1

 

UB 305 x 165 x 54

310.4

166.9

7.9

68.8

54

 

UB 356 x 127 x 33

349

125.4

6

42.1

33.1

 

UB 356 x 127 x 39

353.4

126

6.6

49.8

39.1

 

UB 356 x 171 x 45

351.4

171.1

7

57.3

45

 

UB 356 x 171 x 51

355

171.5

7.4

64.9

51

 

UB 356 x 171 x 57

358

172.2

8.1

72.6

57

 

UB 356 x 171 x 67

363.4

173.2

9.1

85.5

67.1

 

UB 406 x 140 x 39

398

141.8

6.4

49.7

39

 

UB 406 x 140 x 46

403.2

142.2

6.8

58.6

46

 

UB 406 x 178 x 54

402.6

177.7

7.7

69

54.1

 

UB 406 x 178 x 60

406.4

177.9

7.9

76.5

60.1

 

UB 406 x 178 x 67

409.4

178.8

8.8

85.5

67.1

 

UB 406 x 178 x 74

412.8

179.5

9.5

94.5

74.2

 

UB 457 x 152 x 52

449.8

152.4

7.6

66.6

52.3

 

UB 457 x 152 x 60

454.6

152.9

8.1

76.2

59.8

 

UB 457 x 152 x 67

458

153.8

9

85.6

67.2

 

UB 457 x 152 x 74

462

154.4

9.6

94.5

74.2

 

UB 457 x 152 x 82

465.8

155.3

10.5

104.5

82.1

 

UB 457 x 191 x 67

453.4

189.9

8.5

85.5

67.1

 

UB 457 x 191 x 74

457

190.4

9

94.6

74.3

 

UB 457 x 191 x 82

460

191.3

9.9

104.5

82

 

UB 457 x 191 x 89

463.4

191.9

10.5

113.8

89.3

 

UB 457 x 191 x 98

467.2

192.8

11.4

125.3

98.3

 

Common Beam Standards

Common standards that govern the shape and tolerances of structural beam sections are:

  • AISC Manual
  • IS 808
  • ASTM A6,
  • DIN 1025
  • BS 4-1
  • AS/NZS 3679.1
  • EN 10024
  • EN 10034
  • EN 10162

H-beam vs I-beam: Difference between H-beam and I-beam

H-beam vs I-beam: Dimensions and Weight

  • An H-beam has a significantly thicker web than an I-beam.
  • An I-beam normally has a slope of 1:6 to 1: 10 in the flange whereas the H-beam has a uniform flange.
  • An H-beam is heavier as compared to an I-beam.
  • The distance of the flanges can be widened as per requirement for an H-beam section but the same is fixed for I-beam.
  • The moment of inertia is different for both beams.
  • In an I-beam, the size of the web is greater than the size of the flange whereas in an H-beam it may not be true.

H-beam vs I-beam: Mechanical Properties

  • The cross-section of the I-beam is poor against twisting as compared to H-beam.
  • In general, H-beams are more rigid and can carry more load as compared to I-beams.
  • H-beams are used as columns while I-beams are used as beams.

H-beam vs I-beam: Manufacturing

  • An I-beam is manufactured as a single piece throughout, but an H-beam is normally manufactured by welding 3 pieces of metal.
  • An H-beam can be produced to any desired size and height whereas the production of I-beams is limited by the milling machine capacity.
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Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

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