What is the difference between i beam and h beam?

When it comes to building and construction, it is important to know the difference between H-beam and I-beam. There are many factors to consider when it comes to beam structures, but the most important factor is whether the beam can carry the load or not. I-beam and H-beam look very similar because they are often used in similar situations. However, there is a difference between the two.

What is the difference between i beam and h beam?

In the realm of construction and engineering, H-beam and I-beam steel stand out as two of the most commonly utilized structural support elements. Both beams boast unique advantages and characteristics that render them suitable for a broad spectrum of applications. The selection between the two holds paramount importance, influencing the project’s structural integrity, cost, and overall success.

What is H beam?

H-beam steel, also known as W-beam due to its wide flange, presents distinct differences when juxtaposed with I-beams. The flanges of H-beam steel are equal in size and parallel, facilitating simpler welding compared to the inclined flanges of I-beams. The cross-section characteristics of H-beam steel surpass those of traditional I-beam, channel steel, and angle steel. This structural element derives its name from the letter “H,” reflecting its cross-sectional shape.

Bản vẽ thép hình H

Advantages of H-Beam Steel:

  1. Optimized Section Area Distribution: The cross-section of H-beam steel exhibits a more optimized distribution, enhancing its strength-to-weight ratio.
  2. Economical Design: H-beam steel proves economical, reducing material requirements and construction time.
  3. Mechanical Efficiency: Better mechanical properties per unit weight contribute to enhanced performance.

Types of H-beam Steel

H-beam is categorized into different types, each serving specific purposes:

  • Equal Flange H-Beam (HP): Section height equals flange width.
  • Wide Flange H-beam (HW): Features a wider flange than HP.
  • Middle Flange H-beam (HM): The flange width-to-height ratio ranges from 1.33 to 1.75.
  • Narrow Flange H-beam (HN): Flange width-to-height ratio greater than or equal to 2.

View product: H-Beam steel

What is I beam?

I-beam steel, characterized by its “I” shape, possesses sloped inner surfaces on the top and bottom flanges. Despite the availability of thicker I-beams, this structural design inherently limits resistance to torsion.

Bản vẽ thép hình I

Key Features of I-Beam Steel:

1. Cross-sectional Slope: Sloped inner surfaces result in varied characteristics in the main planes.

2. Challenges in Torsion Resistance: The structural design of I-beams makes them less resistant to torsional forces.

Choosing between H-beam and I-beam:

Selecting between H-beam and I-beam involves assessing the specific requirements of the project. H-beam proves advantageous for its mechanical efficiency and economical design, while I-beam may be suitable for applications where torsional resistance is not a primary concern.

In conclusion, understanding the distinctive features of H-beam and I-beam steel is crucial for making informed decisions in structural design and construction projects. Each beam type brings its own set of advantages, and the choice depends on the project’s unique demands.

Which is stronger i beam or h beam?

H-beam: An H-beam has a thicker central membrane, which means it is usually stronger. I-beam: An I-beam typically has a thinner center web, which means it typically cannot handle as much force as an H-beam.

H Beams vs I Beams


I-beam Steel

H-beam Steel

Cross-sectional DimensionsRelatively high and narrowEfficient and economical profile with a logically structured cross-section
ApplicationsUsed directly in components that bend within the plane of the web or as part of a lattice-type structural componentSuitable for a wide range of structural applications, including beams, axially compressed components, and bending components
Flange WidthSmallerWider
Suitability for Compression and BendingUnsuitable for axially compressed components or components bending perpendicular to the web planeSuitable for both axially compressed components and bending components
Force-Bearing DirectionCan bear unidirectional forcesCan withstand forces in two directions
Stability in Steel Structure BuildingsInsufficient alone; even thickened I-beams can become unstable as load-bearing columns.Stable steel-structured buildings
Use in Structural ComponentsOnly used for beamsSuitable for load-bearing columns in structures
Cross-sectional mechanical propertiesInferior to H-beamsSuperior to I-beams
Flange ThicknessVariable thickness: thicker near the web and thinner externallyUniform thickness
Manufacturing ProcessRolled sections with a 1:10 slope inside the flanges
Rolled sections or assembled sections welded from three plates. Requires an additional set of vertical rolls for rolling.
Specific Types and UsesNot specified in detail
Categorized into HW (roughly equal height and flange width, used as rigid steel columns), HM (height to flange width ratio of approximately 1.33 to 1.75, used as frame columns or beams), and HN (height to flange width ratio of 2 or more, primarily used for beams),


Therefore, I-beams and H-beams are two types of steel structure beams. They have different shapes, but both are used in construction to hold up buildings and other structures. So which one is better for your project? It depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you need a strong and rigid beam, an H-beam may be a better choice. If you need a lighter and more flexible beam, an I-beam may be a better choice. Ultimately, you must decide which type of beam is best for your project.

Question and answer (0 comments)