Eiffel 101: What to Look for When Inspecting Steel Beams

When inspecting steel beams either for purchase, maintenance or reuse, there are a few important things to look for, including wear and tear, prior applications, additions, mechanical properties, rusting, stickers that express the steel grade, beam size and weight, and purchase date.

1. Wear and Tear

Used steel beams come from a job site or other location where they have been previously used. Because of this, the steel can show signs of wear and tear, and—depending on its previous exposure to the elements and the amount of maintenance the beam had (or had not) undergone—it can also exhibit evidence of rust and corrosion. Rust, corrosion, and wear and tear are all factors to look for when inspecting steel beam.

2. Purchase Date and Prior Applications

Before reusing steel beam, it’s important to consider the beam’s prior applications, including what type of environments the beam has been driven into, and how many cumulative times the beam has been driven. The type of environment in which the steel beam has been previously driven plays a role in the beam’s integrity. For example, sand is softer than soil, so steel beam that has previously only been driven into sand will likely have less overall wear.

3. Additions

When inspecting steel beam, look for additions like stiffeners, welds and cuts that might change the properties or dimensions of the beam, and could therefore affect future projects.

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

4. Stickers to Indicate Steel Grade

Steel is a combination of iron and carbon. There are more than 3,500 different grades of steel, which are determined by the amount of carbon and alloys in the steel, as well as the way it was processed. Some steel beams will retain their stickers that indicate the beam’s steel grade.

5. Mechanical Properties

In order to ensure your project maintains its structural integrity, it’s important to consider the steel beam’s mechanical properties, such as toughness, strength, weight, hardness, and elasticity. Once these metrics have been determined, you can decide if the size and shape of the steel beam can withstand the desired load for the intended application.

6. Beam Size and Weight

Steel beams come in a wide variety of sizes and weights, and different specs will be required for different projects. When inspecting steel beam, be sure to take its size and weight into consideration. The chart below outlines some of the most common steel beam sizes.

  • 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

All brand new steel beams sold by Eiffel Trading are melted and manufactured in the U.S. to meet Buy America standards.



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