Steel sections used for construction are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. In general, there are three procedures by which steel shapes can be formed: hot rolled, cold formed, and welded. All steel shapes must be manufactured to meet ASTM standards. Commonly used steel shapes include the wide flange (W) sections, the American Standard beam (S) sections, bearing pile (HP) sections, American Standard channel (C) sections, angle (L) sections, and tee (WT) sections, as well as bars, plates, pipes, and hollow structural sections (HSS). I sections that, by dimensions, can not be classified as W or S shapes are designated miscellaneous (M) sections, and C sections that, by dimensions, can not be classified as American Standard channels are designated miscellaneous channel (MC) sections.
Hot-rolled shapes are classified in accordance with their tensile property into five size groups by the American Society of Steel Construction (AISC). The groupings are given in the AISC manuals [AISC, 1989, 2001]. Groups 4 and 5 shapes and group 3 shapes with a flange thickness exceeding 1½ in. are generally used for application as compression members. When weldings are used, care must be exercised to minimize the possibility of cracking in regions at the vicinity of the welds by carefully reviewing the material specification and fabrication procedures of the pieces to be joined.