Types of Beam

Dive into the intriguing world of engineering with an analytical examination of the various types of beam. This comprehensive guide provides invaluable data on the definition, classification, and practical application of different types of beam used in various structures. From simply supported, fixed, to continuously supported beam, you'll gain a thorough understanding of their particular strengths and limitations. Enhance your expertise also in the loader bearing capacity, basic beam formulas and the practical use of beam supports and clamps. This all-encompassing study offers critical information that underpins the stability and strength of any engineering structures.

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Types of Beam Types of Beam

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Table of contents

    Understanding Types of Beam Meaning

    A beam is a structural element that primarily resists forces applied laterally to the beam's axis. Distinctly, these forces can create bending moments and shear forces. In the field of engineering, understanding beams, their types, and specific functionality is crucial as it influences the whole infrastructure stability.

    Definition of Types of Beam

    In engineering, several different types of beams exist. Each of these beams has unique attributes that make them fitting for varying tasks in construction projects. To understand these types, it becomes necessary to detail and define each.

    Cantilever Beam: This form of beam is supported at one end while the other end is free. When a load is applied, the beam carries the load to the support where it's forced against by a moment and shear stress.

    Simply Supported Beam: This is a beam which is supported at its ends. Both supports allow for vertical movement but prevent any rotation.

    Continuous Beam: A beam that rests on more than two supports. It is designed to resist loading conditions from multiple areas of the structure.

    Classification of Different Types of Beam

    On the basis of different features, beams can be classified further. A few of these classifications include:
    • Fixed Beams : These are beams where both ends are rigidly fixed or built-in walls.
    • Overhanging Beams : These beams simply extend beyond its support.
    • Double Overhanging Beams : A kind of beam where both sides extend beyond its supports.
    • Composite Beams : These are beams made of more than one material.

    In the field of engineering, beams carry out a pivotal role in the success and durability of a construction project. The right beam ensures that the structure stands firm even under extreme loads. The use of beams is not confined to just buildings, they are widely used in bridges, vehicles, and virtually any structure requiring structural integrity.

    For more comprehensive understanding, let's further illustrate the different types of beams.

    Fixed beams: Consider a building where the floors are made from concrete slabs. These slabs act as fixed beams as they are rigidly connected to the columns.

    Overhanging Beams: Imagine a bridge extending from a river's bank. Its supports are on the bank while it extends over the water. This extension equates to an overhanging beam.

    Analysing Types of Beam Examples

    The aim here is to delve deeper into the understanding of various types of beams. By evaluating simply supported beam, fixed beam, and a continuously supported beam, we can gain a thorough understanding of their mechanisms, functionalities, and how they are used in real-world applications.

    Simply Supported Beam

    A Simply Supported Beam is one of the most fundamental types of beams used in structures. It is pinned support at one end and roller support at the other end. This type of beam can resist vertical forces and bending moments but not horizontal forces.

    Because of its horizontal movement capability, it is much easier to support weight as compared to a cantilever beam. When a simply supported beam is subjected to an external load, it usually bends and forms a curve shape. The exact shape of this curve can be calculated by understanding the concept of beam bending. The bending stress in a simply supported beam can be expressed through the formula \( \sigma=\frac{-My}{I} \). Here, \( M \) is the moment at a distance \( x \) from the fixed end, \( y \) is the vertical distance to the neutral axis, and \( I \) represents the moment of inertia.

    Fixed Beam

    The second type we discuss is the Fixed Beam. As the name suggests, fixed beams are beams that have both ends rigidly fixed so that no rotation or translation can occur at these ends. Found in many structures, they are known for higher strength and rigidity.

    The calculation of fixed beams is less straightforward because the reactions at the supports involve not just vertical forces but also moment reactions due to the fixed connection. Yet, they are highly useful in large structures where limiting deflection and improving rigidity is essential. An equation used extensively in the analysis of fixed beams is the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation: \( EI \frac{d^4 w}{dx^4} = q(x) \). Here, \( E \) is the modulus of elasticity, \( I \) is the moment of inertia, \( w \) is the beam deflection, \( x \) is the position along the beam, and \( q(x) \) is the distributed load.

    Continuously Supported Beam

    Finally, a Continuously Supported Beam is a beam that is supported at multiple points along its length. These beams are more complex, as the reactions at each support depend on the loading conditions in other portions of the structure.

    Continuously supported beams are extremely versatile, with their capacity to carry different loadings and various spans. This type of beam can also distribute loads to multiple supports, which reduces the demand on any single support and increases the overall load-bearing capacity of a structure. The bending moment at any section of a continuous beam can be calculated using the differential equation of the deflection curve. The equation is defined as \( EIy'''' = w(x) \), where \( y '''' \) is the fourth derivative of the deflection curve, \( E \) is the modulus of elasticity, \( I \) is the moment of inertia, and \( w(x) \) is the distributed load. These three beam types illustrate the complexity and diversity of structural design in engineering. Understanding their properties, functionalities, and the equations used to calculate their load-bearing capacities, yield invaluable insights into the world of engineering structures.

    Identifying Various Types of Beam Applications

    The principles of different types of beams are applied not only in the field of construction engineering but also in various sectors such as aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive, and many others. However, the most prominent use of beams is undoubtedly seen in building structures and bridge construction.

    Use of Beams in Building Structures

    Beams are the essence of building structures. They ensure the load from the structure is transferred safely to the ground. The primary role of a beam is to take up loads across its length and transfer these loads to columns and then, eventually, to the footings. Take, for example, the use of Cantilever Beams in buildings. They are often used in the construction of balconies, where one end of the beam is supported on a column, and the other end is left hanging to support the projection of the structure. The efficient load-bearing capacity of a cantilever beam can be calculated using the formula \( M = wL^2/2 \), where \( M \) is the bending moment, \( w \) is the load, and \( L \) is the length of the beam. Simply Supported Beams, on the other hand, are widely utilised for supporting floors and roofs in a building. As previously mentioned, they are pinned at one end and have a roller or knife-edge support at the other. This configuration allows the beam to rotate smoothly, accommodating any movement or deflection caused by the applied load. Beams play an extremely significant role in high-rise building structures. To build a skyscraper, for example, one relies on a skeleton structure system composing of numerous columns and beams that ensure the building's stability and strength. The system allows it to withstand gusty winds and severe earthquakes. Typically, in such models, Fixed Beams and Continuous Beams are utilised to endure the hefty loads.

    Role of Beams in Bridge Construction

    Even in bridgework, the practical application of beams is apparent. Depending on the dimensions and load-bearing capacity needed, different types of beams are employed. For instance, for smaller spans such as pedestrian bridges or overpasses, Simply Supported Beams are commonly used. The load is conveniently distributed between two supports at each end, reducing the stress on any single point. Large bridges, however, require a more robust setup. Here, Continuous Beams are extensively used. When supports (piers) are placed at regular intervals, a consistent beam can ensure that the load is effectively distributed across all supports. It considerably decreases the bending moment and, thus, increases the bridge's load-bearing capacity. But the use of beams is not confined to traditional bridge construction. Cantilever beams are essential components of the impressive cantilever bridges. Here, cantilever arms (beam sections) extend from each pier to the mid-span meeting point, where a smaller suspended span is used to connect the two protruding arms.

    Benefits and Limitations of Different Types of Beam in Structures

    The application of various beam types comes with its unique set of advantages and limitations. Let's summarise them:
    Type of Beam Benefits Limitations
    Cantilever Beam Viability to have overhanging structures. Excellent for balconies or canopy structures. Can hold less load compared to other beam types. Deforms easily due to bending moment.
    Simply Supported Beam Economical to fabricate. Low bending moment. Poor horizontal support. Does not handle tension well.
    Fixed Beam Highly rigid. Excellent horizontal support. Requires more material and complex calculations. Not efficient for longer spans.
    Continuous Beam High load-bearing capacity due to multiple supports. Great for bridges and largescale builds. Complex structural analysis and design. Requires careful consideration of differential settlement between supports.
    This overview should help you comprehend the critical role of beams in the vast field of engineering, their distinct advantages and deciphering their limitations. This information should guide you in inquiring about viable solutions and innovations.

    Grasping Types of Beam Formula

    When it comes to understanding the principles behind different types of beams, it is essential to get comfortable with some key formulas used within this engineering field. By interpreting these formulas, you can estimate the load-bearing capacity of a particular beam, as well as establishing its overall strength.

    Fundamental Beam Formulas

    The fundamental formulas involved in the analysis of beams include those for calculating the bending stress(\( \sigma \)) , the shear stress(\( \tau \)), the deflection(\( \delta \)), and the bending moment(\( M \)). The equation for bending stress is given as \( \sigma=\frac{-My}{I} \), where \( M \) is the moment at a distance \( x \) from the fixed end, \( y \) is the vertical distance to the neutral axis, and \( I \) represents the moment of inertia. The formula for shear stress is \( \tau=\frac{F}{A} \), where \( F \) denotes the shear force and \( A \) is the cross-sectional area resisting the force. The formula of deflection, for a simply-supported beam under uniformly distributed load, is given as \( \delta=\frac{5qL^4}{384EI} \). Here, \( q \) is the distributed load, \( L \) is the length of the beam, \( E \) is the modulus of elasticity, and \( I \) is the moment of inertia. Lastly, we have the bending moment. The bending moment at any section of a beam subjected to standard loading conditions can be calculated with the equation \( M=\frac{wLx}{2}(1-\frac{2x}{L}) \), where \( W \) is the total uniformly distributed load, \( L \) is the length of the beam, and \( x \) is the distance from the section to one end of the beam.

    Load Bearing Capacity of Various Types of Beam

    The load-bearing capacity of a beam refers to the maximum load a beam can handle without experiencing significant deformation or failure. The following are formulas related to the load-bearing capacity of various types of beams.
    • Simply Supported Beam: For a simply-supported beam under uniformly distributed load, the maximum bending moment can be obtained with the formula \( M_{max}=\frac{wL^2}{8} \), where \( w \) is the total distributed load and \( L \) is the beam length.
    • Fixed Beam: For a fixed beam with a concentrated load in the middle, the maximum bending moment can be calculated using the equation \( M_{max}=\frac{PL}{8} \) where \( P \) is the point load applied and \( L \) is the beam's length.
    • Cantilever Beam: For a cantilever beam under a uniformly distributed load, the maximum bending moment at the fixed end is given by \( M_{max}=wL^2 \).
    • Continuous Beam: When dealing with a continuous beam, bending moments at different support points are different. The bending moment at any section in a continuous beam can be calculated using the differential equation of the deflection curve, defined as \( EIy'''' = w(x) \).

    Strength Calculation of Different Types of Beams

    In terms of beam strength, it generally refers to the beam's capacity to resist loads without the beam failing in bending or shear. The ultimate strength of beams is determined by the material properties and the dimensions (length, breadth, and depth) of the beam. For a rectangular cross-section, the maximum bending stress (\(\sigma_{max}\)) occurs at the section's extreme fibres and can be calculated as \( \sigma_{max}=\frac{Mc}{I} \), where \( M \) is the maximum moment, \( c \) is the distance from the neutral axis to the extreme fibre (half the depth for a rectangle), and \( I \) is the moment of inertia.

    The neutral axis of a beam is the line where the beam experiences zero stress during bending. In a symmetric cross section like a rectangle, the neutral axis is located at the centroid, in the middle of the shape.

    On the other hand, the maximum shear stress (\(\tau_{max}\)) can be computed using the formula \( \tau_{max}=\frac{3V}{2A} \), where \( V \) is the maximum shear force and \( A \) is the cross-sectional area of the beam. Using these formulas, it is possible to determine the maximum loads possible before a beam fails due to bending or shear stresses. Engineers use them routinely in the design and analysis of beams for infrastructure, construction, and many other applications. Knowledge of these essential formulas is instrumental in understanding and employing the structural behaviour of beams.

    Exploring Types of Beam Support and Different Types of Beam Clamps

    Understanding beam support structures is fundamental in grasping the fuzzier intricacies of structural engineering. Beam supports help distribute the forces acting on the beam (like weight and load) to the supporting structures (like walls, columns, or foundations). Similarly, beam clamps are other crucial elements used to connect, hang, or support various mechanical and electrical services with beams without drilling or welding.

    Types of Beam Support and Their Functions

    Beam supports primarily come in three types: fixed, pinned, and roller supports. Fixed support, also known as built-in or clamped support, provides a high resistance to the movement or rotation in any direction. Not just vertical and horizontal movements, this type of support also restricts angular movement. The unique feature of a fixed support is its ability to resist moment (the rotational effect of force), making it ideal for cantilever arrangements where one end of the beam is affixed to a wall, for instance. These supports are typically used in structures where beams are directly embedded in concrete, such as the columns of a building.

    By definition, moment refers to the rotational impact rendered by a force applied on a body about an axis. Mathematically, it is the product of force \( F \) and the distance \( d \) to the axis given by \( M = F \cdot d \)

    Pinned or hinge support allows rotation, but restricts translation in any direction. That means a beam at hinge support can change its angle but cannot move horizontally or vertically. Examples of this kind of support can be seen in building structures where beams are laid on columns. Roller support can resist a single vertical force but not a horizontal force. This indicates that a beam placed on this support is free to rotate and can also move horizontally. The use of roller supports is often seen in construction scaffolding and bridges.

    Advantages of Using Different Types of Beam Clamps

    Beam clamps offer numerous advantages in different construction and mechanical scenarios. Three commonly used beam clamps types are fixed jaw, swivel jaw, and adjustable beam clamps. Fixed Jaw Beam Clamps provide a solid and dependable point of suspension for the hanging of equipment. There are great options for permanent installations because they offer a high degree of safety and reliability. Swivel Jaw Beam Clamps have a pivoting jaw piece that allows for the secure attachment on flanges of I-beams that are not completely parallel. This flexibility makes them a popular choice in construction projects with complicated structural geometry. On the other hand, Adjustable Beam Clamps offer a high degree of adaptability and are best suited to situations where suspension point may need to be moved regularly. They are easy to install and can be fully adjusted without the need for any specialised tools. From providing a secure fixing point without damaging the beam, facilitating quick installation, to offering flexibility and high load-bearing capacity, beam clamps bring in many benefits that enhance the efficiency and safety of construction or installation projects.

    Practical Applications of Beam Supports and Clamps in Real Life

    To gain a better appreciation of their real-life utility, it's helpful to delve into some real-life applications of beam supports and clamps. Beam Supports find their ubiquitous use across various real-life applications. For example, in the construction of bridges, both pinned and roller supports are commonly used. The joint where the bridge meet the end piers is often a roller support, allowing the bridge deck to expand and contract with temperature changes. The other supports in the centre are often hinge or pinned to manage forces and movements more effectively. Beam Clamps also have widespread use across different industry sectors. They are frequently chosen in construction projects, where they provide a secure point for lifting and rigging equipment. They are also ideal for suspending items such as pipes or ductwork in buildings, allowing things to hang without drilling into the beam. Similarly, beam clamps often find relevance in theatrical environments where they are used to hang lighting equipment from overhead beams. Understanding these varied applications of beam supports and clamps imparts greater perception in to how fundamental these elements are in numerous aspects of engineering and construction.

    Types of Beam - Key takeaways

    • A Simply Supported Beam is a basic type of beam used in structures, pinned support at one end, and roller support at the other. It can resist vertical forces and bending moments but not horizontal forces. Its bending stress can be calculated by the formula \( \sigma=\frac{-My}{I} \).
    • A Fixed Beam is rigidly fixed at both ends, preventing any rotation or translation at these ends. They are known for high strength and rigidity, and their analysis involves the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation: \( EI \frac{d^4 w}{dx^4} = q(x) \).
    • A Continuously Supported Beam is a beam that is supported at multiple points along its length. They can distribute loads to multiple supports, enhancing the overall load-bearing capacity of a structure. The bending moment at any section of a continuous beam can be calculated using the equation \( EIy'''' = w(x) \).
    • Beams find widespread applications in construction engineering, aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive sectors, etc. They are crucial in building structures for transferring the load safely to the ground and bridge construction.
    • Various types of beam come with their specific set of benefits and limitations. For instance, while Simply Supported Beams are economical and have a low bending moment, they provide poor horizontal support and do not handle tension well.
    • Understanding beam formulas is essential to estimate their load-bearing capacity and overall strength. Some fundamental beam formulas include those for calculating the bending stress (\( \sigma \)), the shear stress, the deflection, and the bending moment (\( M \)).
    Types of Beam Types of Beam
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Types of Beam
    What are the types of beams? Write in UK English.
    The primary types of beam in engineering are the cantilever beam, simply supported beam, overhanging beam, fixed beam, continuous beam, propped cantilever beam, and the trussed beam.
    How many types of beams are there?
    There is no definitive count due to variations and combinations, but commonly, there are four primary types of beams: Simply Supported, Fixed, Overhanging, and Cantilever. These can further branch out into several sub-types.
    How many types of beams are there in construction?
    In construction, there are four main types of beams: Simply supported beams, Continuous beams, Cantilever beams, and Fixed beams. However, design and construction differences can lead to many more subtypes.
    What type of beam is the strongest?
    The strongest type of beam is a steel I-beam, also known as a universal beam. Its shape provides maximum strength and efficiency allowing for larger loads.
    How many types of beams are there in civil engineering?
    In civil engineering, there are four main types of beams: simply supported beams, fixed beams, cantilever beams, and continuous beams. However, there are numerous subtypes based on shape, equilibrium conditions and load-bearing characteristics.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What is a Continuously Supported Beam and how is it used?

    What is a Simply Supported Beam and how does it work?

    What are the three types of beam supports and their functions?


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