Difference Between Beam & Lintel in Structural System

Beam & Lintel both are flexural members and parts of structural system and basically horizontal members but there is a vast difference in its structural behavior and load carrying mechanism.

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  • It is required to transfer load from slab to columns/walls.
  • As such it is also a beam. It is required to rest the wall above the openings/door/window in a wall.
  • It is a framing member and part of Structural Frame.
  • It is normally not a framing member and not a part of Structural Frame.
  • Beam carries load from slab/floor/roof.
  • Lintel carries load of wall above the openings/door/window.
  • It may act as a fixed beam or simply supported beam.
  • It generally acts as a simply supported beam.
  • Beam is a horizontal member placed parallel to slab.
  • Lintel is a horizontal member placed across opening.
  • Its width can be equal or more than the size of wall below.
  • Its width is equal to the size of wall below.
  • Beam is normally provided at floor height.
  • Lintel is normally provided above the openings.
  • Though it is primarily a structural member it can also be used as a decorative architectural element.
  • It is mainly a structural member.
Also Read:

What is a Reinforced Framed Structure?
What is a Load Bearing Structural System?
Difference Between RCC Framed Structure and Load Bearing Structre?
  • Steel will depend on so many factor based on structural design. Normally it will have minimum percentage steel as it is a structural member.
  • Normally it has nominal steel.
  • Beam is normally casted with slab as a whole.
  • Lintel can be casted separately during construction of masonry wall.
  • It has to be casted on site except for precast.
  • Casting off-site is possible, Precast also can be used.
  • Its cross-sectional area is more as compared to the lintel.
  • Its cross-sectional area is less as compared to the beam.
  • There may be long span/short span depending upon structural configuration.
  • They are basically short span structure.
  • It should not be misunderstood with lintel band.
  • It is not required to be designed for horizontal loads but has to be designed for any cantilever chhajjas, pardi, etc. provided.
Also Read: Importance of RCC Bands in Load Bearing Structure (Masonry Building)
  • It can’t be ignored.
  • Most of the time neglected and not provided and hence leads to diagonal crack at openings.

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