Coil springs are used in countless consumer and commercial products. You can find them in everything from mattresses and recliners to automotive suspension systems, medical instruments, lawnmowers and more. As their name suggests, coil springs are characterized by a coiled design. All coil springs are made of a single piece of coiled metal. Even if you’re familiar with them, however, you might be surprised to learn the following facts about coil springs.
#1) Originated in Ancient Rome
Some of the first recorded uses of coil springs date back to Ancient Rome. Back then, Roman soldiers would wear pin-like clasps known as “fibulae.” There were different styles of fibulae, one of which consisted of a coil spring.
#2) Made of Various Materials
Not all coil springs are made of the same material. Depending on the application for which they are designed, some coil springs may feature a heavy-duty construction. Inexpensive coil springs are often made of aluminum. Heavy-duty coil springs, on the other hand, are often made of stainless steel or even titanium.
#3) Available in Compression and Extension Styles
Coil springs are available in both compression and extension styles. Compression styles are designed to resist compression, whereas extension styles are designed to resist extension. When exposed to a load, compression styles will become shorter. Extension styles, in comparison, become longer when exposed to a load.
#4) Measured in Spring Rate
Spring rate refers to how much pressure a coil spring can withstand until its length changes by 1 inch. Both compression and extension styles will change their length. The spring rate of a compression coil spring represents the load required to shorten the spring by 1 inch. The spring rate of an extension coil spring represents the load required to extend the spring by 1 inch.
In addition to compression and extension, there are torsion coil springs available. Torsion springs are characterized by their ability to store rotational energy. They are still made of a single piece of coiled metal. While extension and compression coil springs are flat, however, torsion coil springs are typically helical.
Coil springs are mechanical devices used to store energy. They are distinguished from other types of springs, such as flat springs, by their coiled design. Whether compression, extension or even torsion, all coil springs are made of a single piece of coiled metal.