Ever wonder what’s inside a typical gas spring? Like coil springs, gas springs can exert either a pushing force or a pulling force. Compression-style springs exert a pushing force, whereas extension-style springs exert a pulling force. You can find coil and gas springs available in both styles.
Gas springs, however, are distinguished from their coil counterparts by their use of gas. They aren’t made of a single piece of coiled-up metal. Instead, gas springs feature a gas-filled tube, rod end fittings and various internal components. So, what type of gas do gas springs use exactly?
Nitrogen Is the Main Gas Type
While there are exceptions, most gas springs use nitrogen as their gas. The main tube contains nitrogen, which along with a small amount of oil, creates pressure. The tube is sealed. As the rod pushes into the tube, the tube’s pressure increases
How Nitrogen Affects the Strength of Gas Springs
Regardless of style, some gas springs are stronger than others. They are able to exert a greater pushing or pulling force. The strength of a gas spring’s output is influenced by the amount of nitrogen.
The more nitrogen a gas spring contains, the stronger its pushing or pulling force will be. Assuming two gas springs are the same size, the gas spring with the most nitrogen in its tube will exert a greater pushing or pulling force than the other. The two gas springs will function the same, but the excess nitrogen means more pressure as the rod pushes into the tube.
Why Gas Springs Use Nitrogen
You might be wondering why gas springs use nitrogen. For starters, nitrogen is classified as an inert gas, making it ideal for gas springs and other related applications. Inert gases don’t undergo chemical reactions with other chemicals. They are essentially stable and non-reactive.
As an inert gas, nitrogen is non-flammable. Even when exposed to heat, it won’t ignite or combust. The same can’t be said for many other types of gas. Oxygen, for instance, will ignite when exposed to heat. This makes nitrogen a safe choice for gas springs.
Nitrogen can also withstand sudden and extreme temperature changes. When other gases experience a sudden and extreme temperature, they will typically contract or expand. A drop in temperature will result in contraction, whereas an increase in temperature will result in expansion. Nitrogen can withstand temperature changes without any major contraction or expansion. This is the same reason that airplanes typically use nitrogen-filled tires rather than air-filled tires.