Springs can be found as a necessary component in many devices, machines, and systems. A spring is an elastic device that applies a resistant force when compressed or stretched. Springs are used to store and absorb energy and maintain force or tension in the application for which it is designed.
Some of these applications include circuit breakers, solenoid valves, writing instruments, and electronics. Springs come in four main styles, which are compression springs, extension springs, torsion springs, and flat springs. The combination of a flat spring and a coil spring is known as a constant force spring.
Aside from these four major categories, springs can be found in a wide range of styles. Industrial springs are typically made from thick wire, while smaller springs can be made from wire that is flexible and thin. Some of these springs are too small to be seen by the naked eye.
Extension springs, torsion springs, and compression springs are types of coil springs, also known as helical springs. This category of spring gets its name from the method of which the spring is produced, which involves winding a spring wire around a cylinder to create a helical shape. For specified applications, these springs can be made from steel or stainless steel.
Compression springs act as a cushion when a downward force works against it. A common example of a compression spring is a bed spring. Extension springs, on the other hand, do the opposite. These springs elongate and exerts resistance when pulled by outward forces on both sides.
You can find extension springs helping in keeping a screen door closed. Torsion springs exert pressure along a circular arc-shaped path, providing a twisting force known as torque. A familiar application that utilizes torsion springs is a mousetrap.Read More…
There are some springs that are not fabricated with coiled wire. Flat springs, for instance, are made from flattened strips of plastic or metal that are capable of shock absorption and resistance by being fabricated with a specific curvature. Leaf springs are a type of flat spring that consist of multiple layers of tempered metal strips.
These springs are common in the automotive industry and can be found in heavy vehicles such as trucks and vans. The aforementioned constant force springs consist of a long strip of sheet metal that retains its coiled shape after it has been wound, coiled, and heat treated.
Constant force springs are ideal for long extensions as it provides a consistent amount of energy as it coils and recoils. Applications where constant force springs can be found are gardening equipment, fitness equipment, toys, and electric motors.
Spring manufacturers fabricate their products using a wide range of wires and metals. Cold spring steel is utilized to form the wire into a spring, regardless of the wire type. Spring steel is a popular material used to make springs, because of its elastic properties and its high yield strength. Another popular material is music wire, due to its uniform strength and inexpensive cost.
Stainless steel is a popular choice in the pharmaceutical, food and beverages, and medical industries because of its chemically resistant properties, and its smooth, easy-to-sterilize surface. A wide range of metals can be cold rolled to make flat springs and cold springs, such as magnet wire, hastelloy, molybdenum, titanium, stainless steel, copper, and bronze. If a spring must be corrosion resistant and make minimal noise, thermoplastics can be used.
The stronger the elasticity of a spring, the more likely and efficiently the spring will return to its original shape. If the spring steel is properly tempered, the spring will be able to indefinitely retain its elasticity. Springs may lose its recoil over time if they are overextended or used too heavily. In applications such as the military that deals with sudden, significantly heavy loads, springs made from braided wire are utilized.
In the cold rolling process, the wire that is used can be up to 5/8” in diameter. In the process of hot rolling, alternatively, straight bars of steel up to 6” in diameter can be coiled and fabricated into springs that are ideal for significant shock absorption. Lightweight and micro wire are commonly used for commercial functions, and these types of wire can be as fine as .01” and .002”, respectively. Stronger springs can be formed using flat and square wire, in addition to round wire, and tubular stock, which is also a popular material.
Springs may apply simple principles of physics, but the amount of equipment and industries that employ their uses is overwhelming. Some types of springs, such as constant force springs, have the ability to provide kinetic energy without the aid of an external source. Other types of springs, including compression and leaf springs, are capable of shock absorption, and are an essential component in applications such as transportation and suspension.
Torsion and extension springs provide their resistance to windows, doors, and other applications. Over time, springs have improved in durability and resistance as new innovations have been made in heat treating and metalworking technology. The potential energy that a spring stores can depend on the spring’s material, size, and function, so it is vital to consider the components of a spring when using one for a particular application.