A beam is a structural element that primarily resists loads applied laterally to the beam’s axis. Its mode of deflection is primarily by bending. The loads applied to the beam result in reaction forces at the beam’s support points. The total effect of all the forces acting on the beam is to produce shear forces and bending moments within the beam, that in turn induce internal stresses, strains and deflections of the beam. Beams are characterized by their manner of support, profile (shape of cross-section), length, and their material.

Types of beams:
According to end support


1- Simply supported beam

simply supported beam is supported at both end. One end of the beam is supported by hinge support and other one by roller support. This support allow to horizontal movement of beam. It beam type undergoes both shear stress and bending moment.

2- Continuous beam

This beam is similar to simply supported beam except more than two support are used on it. One end of it is supported by hinged support and other one is roller support. One or more supports are use between these beams. It is used in long concrete bridges where length of bridge is too large.

3- Over hanging beam

Overhanging beam is combination of simply supported beam and cantilever beam. One or both of end overhang of this beam. This beam is supported by roller support between two ends. This type of beam has heritage properties of cantilever and simply supported beam.

4- Cantilever beam

Cantilever beams a structure member of which one end is fixed and other is free. This is one of the famous type of beam use in trusses, bridges and other structure member. This beam carry load over the span which undergoes both shear stress and bending moment.

5- Fixed beam

This beam is fixed from both ends. It does not allow vertical movement and rotation of the beam. It is only under shear stress and no moment produces in this beams. It is used in trusses, and other structure.

6- Double overhanging beam 

A simple beam with both ends extending beyond its support on both ends.

7- Trussed beam

A beam strengthened by adding a cable or rod to form a Truss

According to shape of cross section

1- I-beam 

This beam types have I cross section as shown in figure. It has high resistance of bending.



2- T-beam 

Beam with ″ T ″cross section

3- C-beam 

Beam with ″ C ″ cross section

Other types of beam cross section


According to equilibrium condition

1- Statically determinate beam

A beam is called determinate beam if it can be analyze by the basic equilibrium condition. The support reaction can be found by using basic equilibrium condition. These conditions are Summation of all horizontal forces is zero. Summation of all vertical forces is zero. Summation of all moments is zero. Example: Simply supported beam, Cantilever beam etc.

2- Statically indeterminate beam

If the beam cannot be analysis by using basic equilibrium condition, known as statically indeterminate beam. The end reaction find out by using basic equilibrium condition with combination of other conditions like strain energy method, virtual work method etc. Example: Continuous beam, fixed beam.

According to Geometry

1- Straight beam: Beam with straight profile

2- Curved beam: Beam with curved profile

3- Tapered beam: Beam with tapered cross section

According to  materials

1- Concrete beam

2- Steel Beam

3- Timber Beam

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