12 Difference Between Beam And Column (With Comparison Chart)

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A structure as a whole system is divided into a number of different parts mainly comprising of footing, column, beam and slab. A beam is a horizontal structural element which withstands vertical loads whereas columns are basically vertical members which span from substructure to superstructure and play a crucial role in transfer of load from top of structure to bottom footing.

What Is A Beam?

A beam is a horizontal structural element which withstands vertical loads. Its mode of deflection is primarily by bending. Beams transfer loads imposed along their length to their end points to walls, columns and foundations.

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), equilibrium conditions, length and their material

There are different types of beams which are classified on the following basis:

  • Based on support condition
  • Based on construction materials
  • Based on cross-section shapes
  • Based on geometry
  • Based on equilibrium condition
  • Based on method of construction

Types Of Beam

  • Simply supported
  • Cantilever Beam
  • Over Hanging Beam
  • Continuous Beam
  • Fixed Ended Beam
  • Steel beams
  • Reinforced concrete beam
  • Composite beams

What You Need To Know About Beam

  1. Beams are usually horizontal structural elements that carry loads perpendicular to their longitudinal direction.
  2. Beams shape can be square, rectangular, T shape, I-shape or H-shape.
  3. Minimum width of beam is 200 mm.
  4. Beam basically carries or resists bending and shear force.
  5. The beam is classified based on its support.
  6. Beam carries weight of slabs, ceiling, floor, roof of a building and transfers it to columns.
  7. A building cannot be constructed without column.
  8. Longitudinal steel in Beam is on two faces which is used to resist bending moment while the vertical loads are resisted by stirrups or inclined beam.
  9. The collapse or failure of beam does not happen suddenly without giving a sign in the form of deflection or cracking.
  10. Beams are supported by the column at one end or both ends.
  11. Minimum and maximum steel usage of a beam is 0.2% to 2.5% respectively.
  12. Beams are generally casted with slab and therefore greater care is observed for its concreting and curing in case of RCC structures.

What Is Column?

Column is a vertical structural member that carries loads mainly in compression. It might transfer loads from a ceiling, floor slab, roof slab or from a beam, to a floor or foundation. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes, though many column columns are engaged, that is to say, form part of a wall.

For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. The location of the columns should be provided in such a manner that no tensile stresses should be produced at the cross section.

Column plays an important role in whole load transfer mechanism and without it structure can’t exist. The strength of a column depends largely on strength of material used, geometry, shape and size of cross section, length and position of column with respect to support condition at both ends.

Columns are classified on the following basis:

  • Based on shape
  • Based on construction material
  • Based on slenderness ratio
  • Based on types of loading
  • Based on types of reinforcement

Types Of Column  

  • Tied Column
  • Spiral Column
  • Composite Column
  • Column with Uniaxial Eccentric Loading
  • Column with Biaxial Eccentric Loading
  • Short Column
  • Long Column
  • Circular Column
  • L-shape Column
  • T-shape Column
  • Square or Rectangular Column

What You Need To know About Column

  1. Columns are usually horizontal structural elements that carry loads parallel to their longitudinal direction.
  2. Column shape can be rectangular, circular, square, T-shape, L-shape, C-shape, elliptical etc.
  3. Minimum width of column is 200 mm, however for earthquake resistance; it needs to be 300mm.
  4. Column basically carries or resists compression load.
  5. Columns are classified as short column or long column based on the slenderness ration.
  6. Column carries load transferred by beam and ultimately transfer it to footing and ground.
  7. A building cannot be constructed without column.
  8. Longitudinal steel in column is on all faces which basically resists compression.
  9. The collapse or failure of column does not necessary show any sign and can happen suddenly and may result in the collapse of the entire structure. Therefore, columns are very important element in construction and no compromise should be made in its design, size, reinforcement, quality of concrete, etc.
  10. Columns are directly built from the foundation.
  11. Minimum and maximum steel usage of a column is 0.8% to 5% respectively.
  12. Columns are generally casted in small batches and therefore quality of concreting and curing is ignored in case of RCC structures.

Also Read: Difference Between H-Beam And I-Beam Steel

Difference Between Beam And Column In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON BEAM COLUMN
Description Beams are usually horizontal structural elements that carry loads perpendicular to their longitudinal direction.   Columns are usually horizontal structural elements that carry loads parallel to their longitudinal direction.  
Shape Beams shape can be square, rectangular, T shape, I-shape or H-shape.   Column shape can be rectangular, circular, square, T-shape, L-shape, C-shape, elliptical etc.  
Width Minimum width of beam is 200 mm.   Minimum width of column is 200 mm, however for earthquake resistance; it needs to be 300mm.  
Load It basically carries or resists bending and shear force.   It basically carries or resists compression load.  
Classification The beam is classified based on its support.   Columns are classified as short column or long column based on the slenderness ration.  
Weight Transfer It carries weight of slabs, ceiling, floor, roof of a building and transfers it to columns.   It carries load transferred by beam and ultimately transfer it to footing and ground.  
Importance A building cannot be constructed without column.   A building cannot be constructed without column.  
Longitudinal Steel Longitudinal steel in Beam is on two faces which is used to resist bending moment while the vertical loads are resisted by stirrups or inclined beam.   Longitudinal steel in column is on all faces which basically resists compression.  
Collapse/Failure The collapse or failure of beam does not happen suddenly without giving a sign in the form of deflection or cracking.   The collapse or failure of column does not necessary show any sign and can happen suddenly and may result in the collapse of the entire structure.
Support They are supported by the column at one end or both ends.   They are directly built from the foundation.  
Minimum And Maximum Steel Usage Minimum and maximum steel usage of a beam is 0.2% to 2.5% respectively.   Minimum and maximum steel usage of a column is 0.8% to 5% respectively.  
RCC Structures They are generally casted with slab and therefore greater care is observed for its concreting and curing in case of RCC structures.   They are generally casted in small batches and therefore quality of concreting and curing is ignored in case of RCC structures.  

Also Read: Difference Between One-way And Two-way Slab

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