A structural stud is meant for use to resist environmental loads (dead, live, wind, snow, or earthquake). They usually have wider flanges and thicker galvanizing. Non-structural studs or ‘interior’ studs are meant for non-load bearing demising walls with gypsum sheathing.
Yes. Structural studs can be used to support axial loads. However, non-structural (interior) studs should not be used in load-bearing applications.
Studs guages/thicknesses are as follows: 12ga/0.097”, 14ga/0.068”, 16ga/0.054”, 18ga/0.043”, and 20ga/0.
The Steel Stud Manufacturer’s Associates (SSMA) has adopted a sizing standard that moves away from ‘gauges’ and directly specifies the material thickness in mils (100ths of an inch). A 600S162-54 is a 6-inch (600) Stud (S) with a 1-5/8” flange (162) with a thickness of 0.054 in (54).
Metal stud manufacturers are required to stamp the stud size and gauge on each product. For instance, ClarkDietrich labels 6-inch, 16-gauge studs with CD600S162-54 50 KSI. This tells you the stud is 6 inches wide with a 1-5/8 inch (1.62 inch) flange and is 16-ga (54 mils) thick.
Large ‘coils’ of sheet steel are loaded into machines that first slice the steel into the necessary widths. A 600T125-43 track would be cut into something close to 8-1/2” wide. These smaller strips are rolled into smaller coils and fed into a rolling machine.