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Thread: Springs in Tension Vs. Compression

  1. #1
    Engineer
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    Springs in Tension Vs. Compression

    Hi All,

    This is a general question about the nature of spring design. I have an application which requires a fairly large compression, coil spring to work in both directions, compression and tension, approximately same spring load in both directions. The spring is maybe a foot long and an inch or so in diameter. I know what I'm about to ask has no single yes no answer, so please don't lecture me on that, but GENERALLY speaking, will a compression coil spring function okay if you expose it to some tension, or will it have a tendency to wear out or simply lose its elasticity?

    Yes I could put a true tension spring on one side and a compression spring on the other, but the design would be more elegant if I could do it with a single spring.

    Appreciate any feedback in advance!

  2. #2
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    You should be asking a spring manufacturer. They pay people on their staff (application engineers) to help customers use their products properly. There are several well known companies on the web. But that advise aside, in general if you remain within the published operational range of the spring it should work just fine. But ask someone who knows, someone who makes their living with springs.

  3. #3
    Principle Engineer
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    The short answer is yes. However, since you are now putting the spring into both compression and tension, the fatigue limits change. You might not get to use the full range if there is a high cycle life.



    Also know that most compression springs come with a set, having been compressed to solid height to get the initial changes taken care of so that the spring returns to the same length in all compression applications from the initial installation. You will want to avoid this step in manufacturing.

  4. #4
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    There are mechanical configurations and devices that can create any spring rate and directional rate control you need.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  5. #5
    Engineer
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    Thanks for the replies, I think I know where I can go from here!

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