Different types of beams are used in construction of building and structures. These are horizontal structural element that withstand vertical loads, shear forces and bending moments. Beams transfer loads imposed along their length to their end points to walls, columns, foundations, etc.

 

In this article, different types of beams used in building construction will be discussed based on their manner of support, cross-section shape (profile), length, and their material.

Types of Beams in Constructions

There are different types of beams which are classified based on the following conditions

  1. Based on Support Conditions
  2. Based on Construction Materials
  3. Based on Cross-Section Shapes
  4. Based on Geometry
  5. Based on Equilibrium Condition
  6. Based on Method of Construction

Based on Support Conditions

Simply Supported Beam

It is the one of the simplest structural elements that both ends are rest on supports but are free to rotate. It contains pinned support at one end and roller support at the other end. On the basis of assign load, it sustains shearing and bending.

 

Types of Beams

Simply supported beam

Fixed Beam

It is supported at both ends and fixed to resist rotation. It is also called a built-in beam. The fixed ends produce fixing moments other than the reactions.

Types of Beams

Fixed Beam

Cantilever Beam

If a beam is fixed at one end and set to be free at the end, it is termed as cantilever beam. The beam distribute the load back to the support where it is forced against with a moment and shear stress. Cantilever beams allow the creation of a bay window, balconies, and some bridges.

Cantilever beam

Cantilever beam

 

Continuous Beam

A continuous beam has more than two supports distributed along its entire length.

Continuous beam

Continuous beam

Based on Construction Materials

Reinforced Concrete Beams 

It is constructed from concrete and reinforcement as shown in Fig. 5.

Reinforced concrete beam

Reinforced concrete beam

Steel Beams 

It is constructed from steels and used in several applications.

Steel beam

Steel beam

 

Timber beams

This type of beam is constructed from timber and used in the past, but its application is significantly declined now.

Timber Beam

Timber Beam

Composite Beams 

Composite beams are constructed from two or more different types of materials such as steel and concrete, and various valid cross sections have been utilized as shown in fig.8.

Composite beam

Composite beam

Based on Cross-Section Shapes

Several cross sectional shapes of beams are available and used in different parts of of structures. These beams can be constructed from reinforced concrete, steel, or composite materials:

Reinforced concrete cross sectional shapes include:

Rectangular beam 

This type of beam is widely used in the construction of reinforced concrete buildings and other structures.

Rectangular Reinforced concrete beam

Rectangular Reinforced concrete beam

T-section beam

This type of beam is mostly constructed monolithically with reinforced concrete slab. Sometimes, Isolated T-beam are constructed to increase the compression strength of concrete.

Added to that, inverted T-beam can also be constructed according to the requirements of loading imposed.

T-beam

Inverted T-beam

 Inverted T-beam

L-section beam 

This type of beam is constructed monolithically with reinforced concrete slab at the perimeter of the structure, as illustrated in  below

Steel cross sectional shapes include:

There are various steel beam cross sectional shapes. Each cross sectional shape offer superior advantages in a given conditions compare with other shapes.

Square, rectangular, circular, I-shaped, T-shaped, H-shaped,C-shaped, and tubular are examples of beam cross sectional shapes constructed from steel.

Steel beam cross sectional shapes

 Steel beam cross sectional shapes

Different types of beams based on cross sectional shapes constructed from composite materials are shown  below.

Based on Geometry

Straight beam

Beam with straight profile and majority of beams in structures are straight beams.

straight beam

straight beam

Curved beam

Beam with curved profile, such as in the case of circular buildings.

Curved beam

Curved beam

Tapered beam

Beam with tapered cross section.

Tapered beam

Tapered beam

5. Based on Equilibrium Condition

Statically determinate beam

For a statically determinate beam, equilibrium conditions alone can be used to solve reactions, i.e the number of unknown reactions are equal to the the number of equations.

Statically determinate beam

Based on Method of Construction

Cast In-situ Concrete Beam 

This type of beam is constructed on project site. so, forms are initially fixed then fresh concrete is poured and allowed to be hardened. Then, loads will be imposed.

Cast in situ beam

 Cast in situ beam

Precast Concrete Beam

This type of beam is manufactured in factories. So, the construction condition is more controllable compare with on-site construction. Consequently, the quality of concrete of the beam will be greater. Various cross sectional shapes can be manufactures such as T- beam, Double T-beam, Inverted T-beam and many more.

Precast concrete beam

Precast concrete beam

Prestressed Concrete Beam

This type of beam constructed by stressing strands prior to applying loads on the beam. Pre-tensioned Concrete beam and post-tensioned Concrete Beam are variations of pre-stressed concrete beam.

Prestressed concrete beam

 Prestressed concrete beam