Spring Manufacture – A Brief Guide
SPRING DESIGNS AND MANUFACTURING
Springs can be created from various designs to take care of a need. Where it will be used plays a role in the right option. All springs will become stressed when they are under a load. The spring in place must be able to take on the amount of stress with that particular setup. Otherwise, the stress will cause the spring to become deformed. It won’t keep the original design and it won’t work as it should.
Springs can be created from a wide variety of materials. The specific type of material will influence the overall strength of the spring. It will also determine the amount of stress it can handle. Keep in mind, when the spring wire is heated, that is also going to modify the form of it.
One of the common types is compression springs. When they are at full compression, the coils are going to touch each other. The diameter of the wire multiplied by the number of coils can’t be greater than the amount of space available. Otherwise, the spring is going to stop the motion in play, it will be a mechanical stop.
Any time a compression spring will be used in an environment of high-temperatures, it needs to be longer. A common use under such conditions is within an engine design. The longer length is going to ensure the compression spring is able to work properly, even with the extreme heat. In this scenario, the spring will assume the load and get shorter. At the same time, the active coils will have an increased diameter. This can be a challenge when the spring is in a confined area.
Pay attention to the designated extension limit on extension springs. If they are used beyond that they won’t hold their shape. They will not be able to go back to the original form with all of the coils closed. When they are used in high-temperature locations, they often have extra tight coils with no play in them. This is to prevent the heat from being able to make the spring weakened.
The diameter of the coils will decrease when a torsion spring assumes a load. It can act as a mechanical stop too. This is possible if there is something inside of the coil to stop the action from the spring.
MATERIALS USED TO CREATE SPRINGS
There are plenty of types of materials used to create springs. The most commonly used are the various steel alloys. This includes:
- 17-7 stainless steel
- 302 stainless steel
- Chrome silicon
- Chrome vanadium
- Music wire
- Oil tempered wire
Sometimes, it is necessary to rely on other materials to create springs though. It all depends on the desired outcome. What does the spring need to do and how much of a load does it need to handle? There are exotic metals used to create springs to meet a unique demand. They include:
- Beryllium copper
- Phosphor bronze
PROPERTIES AND USES FOR COMMONLY USED MATERIALS TO CREATE SPRINGS
Music wire is a high carbon type of steel. It is often used when a high amount of strength is needed. It is reasonably priced and the quality is excellent. Strings for pianos and guitars are often made from music wire. Many small springs are created from it too. It can’t be plated, but it will contract when heated.
OIL TEMPERED WIRE
Commonly referred to as OT, oil tempered wire is made from quality steel. It is inexpensive and often relied upon when the outcome doesn’t have to be uniform or offer much strength. It can be plated and it won’t change when it is heated. OT may be rectangle or square shape to help create the right outcome for a given use.
CHROME SILICON AND CHROME VANADIUM
If you need something higher quality than OT, chrome silicon or chrome vanadium could be the solution. They are stronger and offer a higher quality spring. They can be used in high-temperature settings. Of the common uses for such materials is to create valve springs in vehicles. They can be plated and they don’t change when heated.
This is an excellent material for springs because it doesn’t rust. They are often used in locations where there is steam or water. There are two types of stainless steel used to create springs. The 17-7 isn’t going to change when heated but the 302 will have some expansion.
Several of the materials for springs are a good concept, but keep in mind they can’t be plated. This includes:
- Phosphor bronze
Such alloys are often used to create springs for high-temperature locations. They may be used where there are challenges due to magnetic fields. They won’t corrode so they are a good choice for humid environments. While they do cost more than other materials, they are going to hold up under harsh conditions. They aren’t going to change due to heat.
Due to the lightweight of titanium, it is frequently used in aircraft. It is very strong and durable but it is expensive. There are also special precautions to take when working with it. For example, the wire can become explosive if there is too much stress placed on it. Titanium can’t be plated and it won’t change due to heat.
When a strong material is needed to create the spring, the amount of load it can hold has to be evaluated. This is the order of strength with the strongest at the top of the list:
- Chrome silicon and chrome vanadium
- Music Wire
- Oil tempered wire (OT)
- Stainless steel ( 17-7 and 302)
- Exotic materials
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