Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Types of spring
The most common types of spring are:
- the helical or coil spring (made by winding a wire around a cylinder) - this is a type of torsion spring, because the wire itself is twisted when the spring is compressed or stretched
- the leaf spring (flat springy sheet, used in vehicle suspensions, electrical switches, bows)
- the spiral spring (used in clocks and galvanometers)
Other types include:
- the Belleville spring, a disc shaped spring commonly used to apply tension and also in the initiation mechanism of pressure-activated landmines.
- the spring washer, used to apply a constant tensile force along the axis of a fastener)
- the torsion spring (any spring designed to be twisted rather than compressed or extended)
Hooke's law of elasticity states that the extension of an elastic rod (its distended length minus its relaxed length) is linearly proportional to its tension, the force used to stretch it. Similarly, the contraction (negative extension) is proportional to the compression (negative tension).
This law actually holds only approximately, when the deformation (extension or contraction) is small compared to the rod's overall length. For large enough deformations, the atom bonds get broken or rearranged, and the rod may snap, buckle, or permanently deform. Even if that limit is not reached, the force may deviate noticeably from Hooke's law.
Hooke's law is actually a mathematical consequence of the fact that the potential energy of the rod is a minimum when it has its relaxed length. Any smooth function of one variable approximates a quadratic function when examined near enough to its minimum point; and therefore the force — which is the derivative of energy with respect to displacement — will approximate a linear function.
Custom fabrication of springs
It is easy to hand-make a coil spring using easily available steel piano wire. To make the spring, clamp one end of the wire to a stud bolt, and fix the bolt in the chuck of a drill rotating counter-clockwise. Hold the other end of the wire in a vise while slowly paying out the wire, allowing it to wrap around the bolt.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details