What is Wide Flange?
Definition of Wide Flange in Construction
The term wide flange is used in the construction and building industry extensively. In many instances there is confusion between the old terminologies of the I beam, which is used to describe the more common and now modern wide flange beam. The wide flange beam is a very common shape for structural steel that consists of two flanges and a web member. The flanges are the horizontal pieces of steel on the top and the bottom of the actual full member. The piece of connection steel is the web of the member.
The depth of the web is a very important dimension in terms of the strength of the wide flange beam. The design or profile of the wide flange beam allows the development of a tremendous amount of strength, due to the configuration of the beam. The wider the flange of the beam, the more loading and strength is obtained by the beam. The wide flange beam is normally an extruded shape, which means that the hot, flexible molten steel is forced into a mold, in an continuous process that forms the entire steel member into the shape of the mold that the extrusion process is processed through.
The wide flange beam is probably the most common shape that is extruded, and the most commonly used on commercial as well as large residential projects. The term wide flange beam is always used on the jobsite by all participants in the construction process. In many cases, this identification may not be the most accurate description of the structural steel member, however, it is a very common description, therefore is used improperly in many instances. A wide flange beam normally spans between major column supports, or between larger wide flange members. The connections normally observed on wide flange structural beams could be welded connections, which would be referred to as a moment connection, or bolted connections that do not necessarily provide the same stiffness for moment forces that the welded connection obtains. Wide flange is a description that is use by the majority of individuals in construction to describe a typical structural steel framework, or skeleton.
Pictures of Wide Flange Beams