What Does HSS Stand for in Steel?

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In the steel industry, the term "HSS" stands for hollow structural sections. According to Halin Pipe Corporation, HSS is a type of metal profile with a hollow tubular cross-section. Most HSS are of circular or rectangular sections. However, other shapes are available, such as elliptical. The Steel Tube Institute of North America says that the use of HSS has grown substantially because its flexibility lends itself well to innovative designs.


HSS is a cold-formed, welded steel tube used for welded or bolted building construction, bridges and other structures and manufactured products. It is made in square, rectangular and round shapes. Halin Pipe Corporation says that the corners of HSS are "heavily rounded," and wall thickness is uniform around the section.


HSS is used in building construction, bridges, highway signs, guard rails, power transmission towers and oil rigs. It is also used in the manufacturing of automobiles, construction equipment, farm machinery, office furniture and warehouse racks.


The Steel Tube Institute of America cites the strength of HSS among its primary benefits. The institute says that HSS has superior strength-to-weight ratio and compression support, and an attractive, uniform appearance that incorporates well into building design. In addition, HSS is easily fabricated and cost-effective due to its strength-to-weight ratio.

Other Terms

HSS is sometimes mistakenly called "hollow structural steel." Rectangular HSS is also referred to as "tube steel" or "structural tubing," while "steel pipe" is a common misnomer for circular HSS.


About the Author

Alice Post began writing professionally in 1999. Her first job was writing for "The Baltic Times" in Tallinn, Estonia. She was a journalist for Reuters in New York City, and is now a copywriter for a nonprofit organization in her native Ohio. Post holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University.