Strut channel, often referred to colloquially by one of several manufacturer trade names, is a standardized formed structural system used in the construction and electrical industries for light structural support, often for supporting wiring, plumbing, or mechanical components such as air conditioning or ventilation systems.
A strut channel is usually formed from a metal sheet, folded over into an open channel shape with inwards-curving lips to provide additional stiffness and as a location to mount interconnecting components. Struts usually have holes of some sort in the base, to facilitate interconnection or fastening strut to underlying building structures.
In US units, the basic typical strut channel forms a box 1 5/8 inch by 1 5/8 inch. In metric units, this is a 41 mm by 41 mm unit. There are several additional sizes and combined shapes manufactured.
The main advantage of strut channels in construction is that there are many options available for rapidly and easily connecting lengths together and other items to the strut channel, using various specialized strut-specific fasteners and bolts. They can be assembled very rapidly with minimal tools and only moderately trained labor, which reduces costs significantly in many applications. A strut channel installation also can often be modified or added-to relatively easily if needed. The only alternative to strut channels for most applications is custom fabrication using steel bar stock and other commodity components, requiring welding or extensive drilling and bolting, which has none of the above advantages.
Strut channel is used to mount, brace, support, and connect lightweight structural loads in building construction. These include pipes, electrical and data wire, mechanical systems such as ventilation, air conditioning, and other mechanical systems. Objects can be attached to the strut channel with a bolt, threaded into a channel nut that may have a spring to ease installation. Circular objects such as pipes or cables may be attached with straps that have a shaped end to be retained by the channel. Strut channel is also used for other applications that require a strong framework, such as workbenches, shelving systems, equipment racks, etc. Specially made sockets are available to tighten nuts, bolts, etc. inside the channel, as normal sockets are unable to fit through the opening.