beam

Definition

Horizontal or inclined structural member spanning a distance between one or more supports, and carrying vertical loads across (transverse to) its longitudinal axis, as a girder, joist, purlin, or rafter. Three basic types of beams are: (1) Simple span, supported at both ends, (2) Continuous, supported at more than two points, and (3) Cantilever, supported at one end with the other end overhanging and free.

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