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15 Different Types of Springs and Their Applications [PDF]

In this article, you will learn what are different types of springs? Their advantages, disadvantages, and applications are explained with pictures

If you need this article in PDF form, you can download it at the end.

What is a Spring?

Spring is an elastic object that stores mechanical energy and is usually made of steel. When a conventional spring (without stiffness) is compressed or stretched from its rest position, it exerts an opposing force approximately proportional to the change in length.

The spring rate or spring constant is the change in its force, divided by the difference in the spring’s deflection. Simply put, it is the gradient of the force versus deflection curve. The rate of an extension or compression spring is expressed in units of force divided by distance (N/m or lbf/in).

Nowadays, springs are used in almost every industry. In addition, there are many spring designs, shapes, and sizes available. Each type of spring can be further characterized. To understand all these, we are going to discuss different types of springs, their advantages, and disadvantages, along with their applications.

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Types of Springs

  1. Helical springs
  2. Extension springs
  3. Torsion springs
  4. Compression springs
  5. Spiral springs
  6. Disk springs
  7. Leaf springs
  8. Linear springs
  9. Variable-rate springs
  10. Flat springs
  11. Machined springs
  12. Molded springs
  13. Serpentine spring
  14. Gas springs
  15. Balance springs

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#1 Helical Springs

Helical Springs
Image: Indiamart.com

Helical springs are regarded as the most common type of springs in product manufacturing. These types of springs are wrapped so that they look like a thread. Wires in a helix shape (like the name) with different cross-sections can form helical springs.

These springs generally operate on Hooke’s law which states that within the limits of elasticity, the applied stress is directly proportional to the tension produced. These are highly reliable and can offer a constant spring rate. Helical springs are further divided into four main types, discussed below.

Advantages of Helical SpringDisadvantages of Helical Spring
Helical springs are highly reliable compared to other types.The main drawback of helical springs is that they are quite expensive.
They have an excellent constant spring rate.There is also the problem of load bearings.
These springs generally have good stability.

#2 Extension Springs

Extension Springs

Extension springs are designed to absorb and store energy, as well as to resist pulling force. When pull force is applied, it results in the extension of the spring. Unlike compression springs, extension springs are closed coils and are also known as tension springs.

These springs are usually attached to other components at both ends, and when they are separated, the spring tries to bring them together again. Extension springs experience loads at zero deflection due to their initial tension. It is commonly used in automotive interiors and exteriors applications, garage door assemblies, carburetors, etc.

Advantages of Extension SpringDisadvantages of Extension Spring
These can fully expand and contract when operating overhead doors.Extension springs generally require more parts.
This spring can last up to 10,000 cycles.There is a possibility of wear and tear with extension springs.

#3 Torsion Springs

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs work by rotating their end along their axis, a flexible elastic object that stores mechanical energy when twisted. When it is rotated, it exerts torque in the opposite direction, which is proportional to the amount of rotation.

Because of the rotation, these springs use the radial direction when the force is acting radially. These are generally seen in applications that rotate less than 360 degrees. Torsion springs last a long time and can be easily adjusted in all types of vehicles. It is commonly used in clothes pins, clipboards, swing-down tailgates, and garage doors.

Advantages of Torsion SpringDisadvantages of Torsion Spring
These springs are solid and last for a long time. Torsion springs generally cannot provide a progressive spring rate.
A torsion spring is easy to lubricate and maintain compared to an extension spring.
These springs allow for controlled motion.

#4 Compression Springs

Compression Springs

The compression spring is usually of coil type, which offers resistance to the force exerted to compress the spring. These are usually pressed or squeezed by the load and can resist compressive or push force.

The perfect example of its application is the ballpoint pen, which is responsible for the popping result. In addition, it is also applied in valve and suspension system applications. In addition to their benefits, they can provide constant pressure and return the component to its desired state.

Advantages of Compression SpringDisadvantages of Compression Spring
Compression springs may oppose the movement of another component. Compression springs are expensive.
It can return the component to its desired state.The spring loses its shape and stability when it is overused.
These springs usually provide constant pressure.If the spring is broken, it isn’t easy to repair.

#5 Spiral Springs

Spiral Springs

Spiral springs consist of coiled wire usually in a flat spiral or a helix shape. These springs are commonly used for energy storage. These types of springs are made by joining rectangular metal strips to plane spirals.

When used, it stores an appropriate amount of energy and can release it at a constant rate. This continuous release feature makes it suitable for mechanical watches, toys, and seat recliners.

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#6 Disk Springs

Disk Springs

Also known as Belleville springs, these are ideal for high-load applications, especially where space is limited. This spring is composed of a convex disc where the outer edge is driven opposite the center of the disc. Due to this, it creates a high spring force within a small area of ​​movement.

Disc spring supports high loads with relatively small deflection and has low solid height compared to standard helical designed springs. These types of springs are versatile and are utilized in manufacturing and plant applications. Disc springs are further classified into four types which are described below.

Advantages of Disc SpringsDisadvantages of Disc Springs
Disc springs provide high energy storage capacity and long service life.Load deviation in disc spring is difficult to guarantee.
Using these springs saves space.
It gives good shock absorption and energy dissipation.

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#7 Leaf Springs

Leaf Springs

A leaf spring made of several strips of metal curved slightly upwards and clamped together on top of each other. It is a simple form of spring commonly used for suspension in wheeled vehicles. These are made of rectangular metal plates, also known as leaves.

These are sometimes referred to as the elliptical spring, or cart spring, one of the oldest spring forms. A leaf spring forms a thin arc-shaped length of spring steel of a rectangular cross-section. In the most common type, the center of the arc provides space for the axle, while loops at either end provide for attachment to the vehicle chassis.

Advantages of Leaf SpringDisadvantages of Leaf Spring
Leaf springs are light in weight and are known to be strong.Ride comfort is not as good due to the inter-leaf friction between each leaf.
This spring provides good support to the axle and chassis.As time passes, these springs lose their shape and can sag.
It can withstand a higher amount of load than helical springs.

#8 Linear Springs

The linear spring has the same diameter along its entire length, and this uniform diameter provides it with a constant spring rate. In other words, the rate of the spring does not change regardless of the load acting on the spring, and the deflection of the spring will be proportional to the applied force.

Some linear springs store energy through compression rather than expansion. For instance, when you compress a spring in a typical jack, you work on the spring, which is stored in the spring as energy. These types of springs are also known as constant rate springs.

#9 Variable-rate Springs

Variable-rate Springs
Image: compare.parts

The spring rate of variable-rate springs increases with spring deflection. A variable-rate spring does not have the same spring rate across its axial length and is usually not constant or linear. These springs are employed when the manufacturer wants to control the spring rate.

A cone-shaped compression variable spring is typically found in the battery box. These springs may have multiple rates, or while the spring is compressing, they may have a progressively increasing or decreasing spring rate. This offers many advantages, and many products rely on variable-rate springs to deliver optimum performance.

#10 Flat Springs

Flat Springs

Flat springs generally come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. These are made from steel and are ideally suited for applications where space is limited or where spring can be used as part of a mounting assembly.

These are essentially sheet metal parts that can be formed by stamping. Spring washers, PCB spring contacts, and retainer clips are good examples of flat springs. However, there are also coiled flat springs, such as clock springs and volute springs. They also require heat treatment to shape.

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#11 Machined Springs

Machined Spring
Image: mondial.it

A machined spring is a piece of material that has been precisely designed and machined to the spring characteristics. As the name suggests, machined springs are typically made on CNC lathes and mills.

It is designed to provide precise performance in the form of compression, extension, torsion, lateral translation, or lateral bending spring. These types of springs are used for heavy-duty applications with high strength and precision requirements.

#12 Molded Springs

Molded Spring

Molded springs are nothing but plastic or composite springs commonly found in corrosive environments such as food production, medicine, and marine applications. Because of the creep, molded springs should be used only in irregular cycles.

The mold spring mainly has a small installation volume, excellent elasticity, strong rigidity, high precision, a rectangular material shape, surface color separation coating, and an aesthetic appearance. Compared to regular springs, they are relatively new to space, and supplies are not as great.

#13 Serpentine Spring

Serpentine Spring

Serpentine springs zigzag on the seat or back and provide excellent comfort and durability. These springs are springs made from steel wire shaped into a continuous (S) shape.

They have higher quality, are thicker, more stable, and are usually corrosion resistant. These types of springs are made from rigid spring steel wire and are delivered on a roll to the sofa manufacturer. Some zig-zag springs are thin and are often installed in inexpensive sofas.

#14 Gas Springs

Gas Spring
Image: Amazon.com

A gas spring uses compressed gas (Nitrogen gas and oil) within an enclosed cylinder sealed by a sliding piston to store potential energy pneumatically and to withstand an external force applied in a parallel direction of the piston shaft.

These are rods that provide support for doors, hatches, lids, and covers that are hinged horizontally. They act as supports in various ways, including raising, positioning, and lowering. Since they are versatility, therefore they are used in a wide variety of applications.

#15 Balance Springs

Balance Spring
Image: breguet.com

It is a spring that is attached to the balance wheel in a mechanical timepiece. This causes the balance wheel to oscillate with a resonant frequency when the timepiece moves. It controls the speed at which the timepiece’s wheels turn, thus the rate of movement of the hands.

The balance spring is a fine spiral or helical torsion spring used in mechanical watches, kitchen timers, and alarm clocks to control the balance wheel’s oscillation rate. The balance spring is an essential accessory for the balance wheel, causing it to oscillate back and forth.

Wrapping It Up

As we have already discussed above, springs generate a large deflection and are used for many applications. Generally, most springs are made of steel. These can be connected in series as well as parallel.


So now, I expect I’ve covered everything about “Types of Springs“. If you still have any doubts or questions on this topic, you can contact us or ask in the comments. If you like this article then please share it with your friends.

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About Saif M

Saif M. is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. He completed his engineering studies in 2014 and is currently working in a large firm as Mechanical Engineer. He is also an author and editor at www.theengineerspost.com

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