Eiffel 101: How to Analyze Steel Beam Sections

Steel beams such as h-pile and wide flange beams are used to create a strong foundation for large structures such as buildings, bridges and roads that could not otherwise be supported by the topsoil. Both h-pile and wide flange beams are classified by their flange size and weight per foot, which can also be used to calculate the total weight of the beam.

H-Pile Beam Sizing

When a beam size begins with “HP or contains “h-pile,” it means that the beam’s flanges are equal to the thickness of the “web” (the piece connecting the two flanges). This also means the flanges are parallel. The number associated with the pile (i.e. HP14) indicates that the flanges are 14 inches long. The second number (i.e. HP14x73) indicates the weight per foot of the beam. So in this example, an h-pile that is HP14x73 has parallel flanges that are each 14 inches long and a weight of 73 pounds per foot.


Steel beams: wide flange, h-oile, and more

Wide Flange Beam Sizing

When a beam size begins with “W,” it means the beam’s flanges are not equal to the thickness of the web. Typically, this means that the “web” (the piece connecting the two flanges) is longer than the length of the flanges, which resembles the shape of an uppercase “I”. The number associated with the pile (i.e. W21) indicates that the flanges are 21 inches long. The second number (i.e. W21x44) indicates the weight per foot of the beam. So in this example, a wide flange beam that is W21x44 has two flanges that are each 21 inches long and a weight of 44 pounds per foot.

Calculating Total Weight of Wide Flange Beams or H-Pile

To calculate the total weight of any wide flange beam or h-pile, we must multiply the length of the beam by the second number in the name, because this indicates the weight per foot of the beam. For example, an h-pile named HP10x42 that is 40 feet in length weighs 42 x 40 or 1,680 pounds.

Wide Flange Beam and H-Pile Sizes

The chart below outlines the available sizes for wide flange beams and h-pile.


  • W8: W8x18, W8x21, W8x24, W8x28, W8x31, W8x35, W8x40, W8x48, W8x58, W8x67

  • W10: W10x22, W10x26, W10x30, W10x33, W10x39, W10x45, W10x49, W10x54, W10x60, W10x68, W10x77, W10x88, W10x100, W10x112

  • W12: W12x26, W12x30, W12x35, W12x40, W12x45, W12x50, W12x53, W12x58 ,W12x65, W12x72, W12x79, W12x87, W12x96, W12x106, W26x120, W12x136, W12x152, W12x170, W12x190, W12x210, W12x230, W12x252

  • W14: W14x22, W14x26, W14x30, W14x34, W14x38, W14x43, W14x48, W14x53, W14x61, W14x68, W14x74, W14x82, W14x90, W14x99, W14x109, W14x120, W14x132, W14x145, W14x159, W14x176, W14x193, W14x211, W14x233, W14x257, W14x283

  • W16: W16x26, W16x31, W16x36, W16x40, W16x45, W16x50, W16x57, W16x67, W16x77, W16x89, W16x100

  • W18: W18x35, W18x40, W18x46, W18x50, W18x55, W18x60, W18x65, W18x71, W18x76, W18x86, W18x97, W18x106, W18x119, W18x130, W18x143, W18x158, W18x175, W18x192, W18x211, W18x234

  • W21: W21x44, W21x50, W21x57, W21x58, W21x55, W21x62, W21x68, W21x73, W21x83, W21x93, W21x101, W21x111, W21x122, W21x132, W21x147, W21x166, W21x182, W21x201, W21x223, W21x248, W21x275

  • W24: W24x55, W24x62, W24x68, W24x76, W24x84, W24x94, W24x103, W24x204, W24x117, W24x131, W24x146, W24x162, W24x176, W24x192, W24x207, W24x229

  • W27: W27x84, W27x94, W27x102, W27x114, W27x129, W27x146, W27x161, W27x178, W27x194

  • W30: W30x90, W30x99, W30x108, W30x116, W30x124, W30x132, W30x148

  • W33: W33x118, W33x130, W33x141, W33x152, W33x169

  • W36: W36x135, W36x150, W36x160, W36x170, W36x182, W36x194, W36x210, W36x232, W36x256


  • HP8: HP8x36

  • HP10: HP10x42, HP10x57

  • HP12: HP12x53, HP12x63, HP12x74, HP12x84, HP12x89, HP12x102, HP12x117

  • HP14: HP14x73, HP14x89, HP14x102, HP14x117

  • HP16: HP16x88, HP16x101, HP16x121, HP16x141, HP16x162, HP16x183


W-beams

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