-beams, also known as H-beams, W-beams (for "wide flange"), rolled steel joist (RSJ), or double-T (especially in Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

) are beams
Beam (structure)
A beam is a horizontal structural element that is capable of withstanding load primarily by resisting bending. The bending force induced into the material of the beam as a result of the external loads, own weight, span and external reactions to these loads is called a bending moment.- Overview...

 with an - or H-shaped cross-section
Cross section (geometry)
In geometry, a cross-section is the intersection of a figure in 2-dimensional space with a line, or of a body in 3-dimensional space with a plane, etc...

. The horizontal elements of the "" are flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

s, while the vertical element is the web. The web resists shear forces while the flanges resist most of the bending moment experienced by the beam. Beam theory
Euler-Bernoulli beam equation
Euler–Bernoulli beam theory is a simplification of the linear theory of elasticity which provides a means of calculating the load-carrying and deflection characteristics of beams. It covers the case for small deflections of a beam which is subjected to lateral loads only...

 shows that the -shaped section is a very efficient form for carrying both bending
In engineering mechanics, bending characterizes the behavior of a slender structural element subjected to an external load applied perpendicularly to a longitudinal axis of the element. The structural element is assumed to be such that at least one of its dimensions is a small fraction, typically...

 and shear
Shearing (physics)
Shearing in continuum mechanics refers to the occurrence of a shear strain, which is a deformation of a material substance in which parallel internal surfaces slide past one another. It is induced by a shear stress in the material...

 loads in the plane of the web.