Steel C channels are available in depths between 1 and 18 inches, widths between 0.5 and 4.2 inches, and webs between 0.312 and 0.7 inches. All three dimensions increase together, meaning a steel C channel with a 2-inch depth has smaller width and web than a 12-inch channel.
Manufacturers measure steel C channels with the longest side vertically oriented. This longest dimension is the depth. The width is a measurement of the size of the channel's walls. The web size defines the thickness of the steel making up the channel. Most steel C channels have a uniform web size, but some have separate web sizes for the base and walls of the channel.
Steel C channels' high strength-to-weight ratio makes them useful for a variety of applications. Steel C channels are manufactured in both hot-rolled and cold-rolled variants. Hot-rolled steel C channels are used in situations where affordability is more important than precision, while cold-rolled channels are used in situations that require close tolerances and high tensile strength.
Manufacturers also create C channels using different types of steel for different applications. Carbon structural steel C channels are used in heavy automotive frames, buildings, bridges and other construction projects. Low-alloy structural steel C channels are extremely strong and lightweight, so they are used primarily in large construction projects such as skyscrapers and welded or riveted bridges.