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What Is HSS Tube Steel? Properties, Uses, & More

hss tube steelHSS tube steel has a great strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it an ideal resource in a variety of construction applications.

You may have heard it called by any of several other names, so let’s clear things up. (For starters, HSS stands for "hollow structural section.") Read on for more information on structural steel tubing:

  • What it's also commonly called
  • What makes it so valuable
  • Applications

HSS Tube Steel Explained

As we already established, HSS tube steel is characterized by a hollow tubular cross-section.However, while many assume this cross-section is solely circular, it can also be square or rectangular.

(Fun Fact: Tubes and pipes are not the same thing.)

Many people wonder what the difference is between HSS and tube steel, or TS. The answer: nothing, really. The only difference between HSS and TS is in name. "TS" is just an outdated way to describe a hollow structural section in the United States, according to the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).

In the U.K. and parts of Europe, HSS is known by other acronyms that follow the appropriate regional terminology. This often includes the acronyms ...

  • CHS (circular hollow section)
  • SHS (square hollow section)
  • RHS (rectangular hollow section)

Free Tube Bending Guide

HSS Tube Steel Properties

You know the biggest benefit of HSS is its ideal strength-to-weight ratio -- and that makes it a go-to material in many construction applications. There are several other properties that help solidify HSS as a valuable building part.

For instance, the tubes also demonstrate good torsion resistance, and because they have uniformity, they're ideal for support columns. To improve their durability (as well as fire resistance), HSS tubes can also be filled with concrete. For example, barriers installed around parking lots are often HSS filled with concrete.

Additionally, HSS is fairly easy and economical to manufacture, something that is helping its ascent in the building field. More on that in the next section.

Ideal Applications for Structural Steel Tubing

According to estimates from the AISC, about 18% of the structural steel market in the United States consists of HSS. Experts believe that number is on the rise.

So what are engineers using HSS tubing for? Here's a look at some of its most popular applications:

  • Beams
  • Pillars
  • Exposed architectural structures
  • Staggered and conventional truss structures
  • Bracing structures
  • Welded steel frames
  • Parking lot barriers

All Sizes & Shapes

It's easy to see why HSS tubing is such a pivotal construction part. And it's a component that’s only likely to increase in importance and use over time.

One of the reasons why steel tubing has so many uses is because your vendor can custom manufacture it in an extensive range of sizes and shapes. If you need a helping hand with tube sizes for your upcoming project, check out the free e-book below.

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