Different Types of Springs and Their Uses
Look around you. You write with a pen, drive a car, sit on comfy sofas, and wear a wristwatch. All these things have got one thing in common: they all use springs! From a hair clip to an airplane, we are using different types of springs in our daily life without even realizing it. We decided to pay tribute to these wriggly, metallic masterpieces in this article. You’ll be amazed to learn about the various types of springs and their uses.
What Is A Spring?
Before knowing all the types and applications, it’s important to know what exactly a spring is. We all recognize a spring as a piece of metal wire curved into a spiral or helical shape, but that’s not how it’s defined. Springs are elastic machine elements serving the purpose of load deflection. Their load-bearing abilities are due to the fact that they change their position when a load is applied and regain it once the load is removed. Springs are of mechanical significance and are made up of metals with impressively high yield strength and elastic limit. Their elasticity, shock-absorbing ability, and resistance to shocks make them ideal for use in a variety of machines. They withstand impacts and vibrations while keeping the critical machine components safe.
Springs serve as storage units for mechanical energy. The spring technology is as ancient as a bow and an arrow. In the past, we’ve used non-coiled springs in several ways. But after the first coiled spring was introduced in 1763 by R. Tradwell, there was no end to the possibilities. A metal wire spring is used for compression, extension, rotation, sliding, pulling, and exerting pressure.
Materials Used to Make Springs
Springs are made up of metal alloys with high yield strength often known as spring steels. Some common materials include:
- Stainless steel
- Beryllium Copper alloy
- Oil tempered steel
- Phosphor bronze alloy
- Chrome Silicon
Purpose of Springs
Springs are used for a range of purposes. You can use it to absorb shock load, store mechanical energy, retain rings, control and resist the transfer of vibrations, return motion, and many other purposes.
Different Types of Springs and Their Uses
There are four main types of springs on the basis of their shape: Helical springs, Leaf springs, Belleville springs, and Conical springs. Helical springs are further divided into four types. Here are some common types of springs and their uses:
Compression Helical Springs or Open Coil Springs
Compression springs are one of the most commonly used types of springs. These are open-coil helical springs which undergo compression when a load is applied. Compression springs withstand compressive loads and resist linear push forces. In fluid pressure systems, the fluid follows the same principle to act as a compression helical spring. These springs are used in click ball pens, locks, mattresses and furniture, lighters, and motorcycle suspensions.
Tension Helical Springs or Closed Coil Springs
Tension or extension springs are opposites of the compression springs. These are tightly coiled and are called closed coil springs. Usually, two hooks are added on either side of the tension spring, but it can also contain a single hook. Tension spring is made up of materials with very high tensile strength and loads are added on the hooks. Some common applications include weight machines, lever mechanisms, garage doors, vise-grip pliers, washing devices, and toys.
Torsion springs are another type of closed coil springs which are designed to bear torque or twisting loads. These helical springs are ideal for holding and releasing angular energy. You might have seen these in your jaw clips. The main purpose of these springs is to keep the system controlled. When the spring experiences torque, an opposite and proportional force is applied by the spring. They are frequently used in door hinges, automobile starters, clothespins, hair clips, rocker switches, and even mouse traps.
As the name indicates, spiral springs are made by wrapping or coiling flat steel bands multiple times. They are known for their ability to release uniform load and are also called constant force springs. Another name for these springs is the clock spring because they are used in clocks and watches. These are also installed in machines in which the components rotate of move multiple times and need to release load continuously. These springs fulfill high power demand and are used in heavy-duty machines. If designed with thicker bonds, they provide fever rotations. Common uses of spiral springs are DC motors, window regulators, clocks and watches, and seat recliners in vehicles.
Also known as Semi-Elliptical springs or Cart springs, lead springs are the oldest springs known to mankind. Previously they were used in carriages and today, these elongated, flat arc-shaped springs are used in modern vehicle suspensions. The axle is installed in the middle of the arc and both ends are attached to the vehicle. Rear-axle installation can decrease excess weight. This helps in spreading the load and preventing axle damping. These springs have high strength and easy to construct. They are also used by blacksmiths.
Belleville springs, also commonly known as disc springs or conical spring washers or Belleville washers, are designed in the shape of a conical disc with a hole in the center (resembling a donut). These springs exert pressure uniformly, which remains constant. They can withstand huge loads while occupying less space. Dynamic or static loads are added to its axis. Spring washers are used in several applications. They serve as electrical connections where heat expansion is expected. Washers are used as fasteners to assemble systems, flange connections, supports, clamps, and hangers. Machine components like clutches, spindles, brakes, latches, high-pressure valves, and drill bit shock absorbers use Belleville springs.
As the name suggests, conical springs are compression springs designed in a conical shape. These springs are also called tapered springs. This type of spring is commonly used for electrical contacts like battery contacts in remote controls and other electronic devices that use removable batteries. They are also used to push buttons. They are known for their stability and for decreasing solid height.
Some Other Types of Springs
You can also find some other types of springs in the market. These include:
- Constant Spring
- Variable Spring
- Variable Stiffness Spring
- Flat Spring
- Machined Spring
- Serpentine Spring
- Cantilever Springs
- Hairspring or Balance Spring
- V-Spring, Gas Spring
- Ideal Spring
- Main Spring
- Negator Spring
- Progressive Rate Coil Spring.