What is a Compression Spring
The main characteristic of compression springs is their open coil helical shape that is wound to oppose compression along their axis. They are the most common form of spring and are found in a wide assortment of applications. Although compression springs can work independently of other mechanisms, they are normally included as part of an assembly or construct.
Compression springs are made of steel, stainless steel, steel music wire, or spring steel. As the diameter of the wire increases, the springs become stronger and more durable, capable of withstanding more aggressive and forceful use.
Since compression springs are one of the most-used springs, they are available in a wide assortment of sizes and shapes as extensive as their different types.
Advantages of Compression Springs
Compression springs are wound with a constant diameter in various shapes, such as convex, conical, and concave forms. They store energy or resist compressive stress. Regardless of their shape and size, all compressive springs provide the same axial compressive force. This ability is due to their durability and strength and is why they are so widely used.
Prevention of Motion
A major benefit of compressive springs is their ability to prevent the motion of another part or component. This aspect of their properties makes them ideal for controlling and connecting components.
When compression is released from a compression spring, it returns to its initial position. This factor plays a role in their use with other components. As a compression spring returns, it repositions any part or component to which it is attached.
In manufacturing operations, a constant concern is the monitoring of equipment and machinery, which need regularly-scheduled maintenance. This is not true for compression springs. They compress and release without the need for lubrication, maintenance, or monitoring.
One of the reasons for the popularity and general use of compression springs is their light weight and ease of use. Part of the formation of compression springs is the spiraling of steel wire. This form increases the hardness of the wire and gives it greater endurance than it would have as linear wire. Additionally, the metal of a compression spring is heated and cooled, which makes it possible to withstand the demands of heavy loads.
Of the many advantages of compression springs, their stability and strength is one of their most crucial benefits. While other types of springs may bend or buckle when deflected, compression springs avoid buckling due to their lateral stability.
Compression springs are made of inexpensive materials and metals such as steel, which are easily accessible and reasonably priced. Less metal is required to produce compression springs, making them a highly-affordable solution for any application.
Different Types of Compression Springs
The term compression spring encompasses a wide array of different types of springs each of which is designed to meet the needs of a specific application. The range and types of compression springs come in different sizes, shapes, and configurations, factors that impact the amount of force and tension they can provide. The various forms of compression springs determine the power they contain and are able to deliver.
Concave Compression Springs
Concave compression springs have an hourglass shape with narrower coil windings in their middle than on either end. Their shape helps them remain centered over a point that has a large diameter. An added advantage of concave compression springs is their symmetrical shape.
Convex Compression Springs
Convex compression springs, also known as barrel springs, have a wider diameter in their middle and smaller diameters on both ends. When they are compressed, their coils fit within each other, which allows for a greater amount of deformation. Convex compression springs save space, eliminate buckling, and come in shapes and sizes to fit the needs of an application. They are used where stability and movement resistance are critical.
Conical Compression Springs
Conical compression springs are shaped like ice cream cones with a large diameter on one and a smaller diameter on the opposite end. The coils gradually taper as they move along the length of the spring. In some designs, the change between coil diameters is sufficient to allow the individual coils to fit inside each other. The stability of conical springs increases as their height decreases. Conical compression springs have superior compression strength due to their stability and are less likely to buckle or lose their balance when compressed.
Straight Coil Compression Springs
Straight coil compression springs are the most common form of compression spring. They are used in a wide assortment of mechanical and powered applications. Each coil of a straight compression spring has the same diameter regardless of the thickness of the wire. They have the shape of a tube or cylinder and come in varying diameters and lengths.
Volute Compression Springs
Volute compression springs have a cone shape that is similar to conical compression springs. The difference between them is the form of the materials used to make them. Volute compression springs, unlike other springs, do not use curled or swirled wire. Instead, they have curled sheets of metal or other material that gives the appearance of a tower or circular ramp.
Like conical and convex compression springs, the sheets of metal of a volute compression spring slide inside each other when the spring is compressed. When fully compressed, volute compression springs form a solid stable height.
Variable Pitch Compression Springs
Variable pitch compression springs have varied space between their coils. The pitch of a compression spring is the distance between the adjacent coils of wire, which are at different intervals in variable pitch compression springs. They have a non-linear load that minimizes resonant surging and vibrations. In some designs, the pitch in the middle of the spring is closer to reduce tangling.
The six springs listed above are a small sampling of the many types of compression springs that are available. Different varieties of these valuable tools are continually being developed and perfected to fit unique and innovative designs and applications.
Need help determining the right compression spring for your application? Contact us to discuss your needs with one of our experienced team members or call us at 616.453.5463.
Materials Used to Manufacture Compression Springs
The properties and characteristics of the materials used to produce compression springs determine their performance, how they are made, and their useful life. The most-common metal used to manufacture compression springs is steel with other metals used to meet environmental or manufacturing standards.
- Brass – Brass wire has corrosion and water resistance but is expensive and used for specialized compression springs.
- Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is regularly used to produce compression springs due to its corrosion and heat resistance.
- Music Wire – Music wire is one of the best materials for the production of compression springs. It is cold drawn and has exceptional strength with a smooth clean finish.
- Hard Drawn MB – Hard drawn MB has a high carbon content with an average level of stress tolerance at low cost.
- Oil Tempered – Oil tempered compression wire is formed in a high-precision casting process. It has exceptional tensile strength, superior straightness, and is used for large diameter springs.
- Carbon Steel – Carbon steel is one of the most common materials used to manufacture compression springs due to its superior strength, low cost, and availability.
The Benefits of Apex Spring and Stamping
Apex Spring and Stamping has been producing high-quality products for over 40 years and is recognized as a world leader in the production of high-quality springs. We provide solutions, services, and value to our customers through our exceptional customer service and highly-qualified technical staff.
The goal of Apex Spring and Stamping is to meet and exceed the needs of our customers. Our belief in sustainability and excellence is what has made us successful.