Types of Springs and their Applications

Springs are vital in many objects, from mobile phones and pens to cars and medical parts.
This article aims to provide an overview of springs, including their benefits and disadvantages, as well as the various types of springs and their applications.

The Basic Concept of Springs

What is a Spring and What Does it Do?

Springs are mechanical devices that can store and release energy. Steel or stainless steel is usually used as the raw material for springs. They work by compressing or stretching when a force is applied and then releasing that energy when it is removed. It is useful in absorbing shocks, suspending, or creating tension and pressure in various mechanisms.

Springs and Hooke’s Law

Springs are utilized in various products, and their functionality is based on Hooke’s Law. The law demonstrates the relationship between the force applied to a spring and its elasticity. In simpler terms, the force demanded to extend or compress the spring is proportional to the spring’s displacement.

Mathematically, Hooke’s Law is expressed as F= -kX,

– F means the force applied to the spring

– X is the displacement of the spring, with negative values implying that the restoring force is in the opposite direction to the applied force

– K represents the spring constant, which varies based on the nature of the spring and its stiffness.

Major types of Springs and Functions

 Understanding spring types is crucial for product design. Some of the major types of springs used in various products and machines are listed below:

Type One: Coiled Springs

Coiled springs are the most common type and can be found in countless applications. They come in various forms, each performing specific purposes.

Here is a brief overview of the four types of springs:

1. Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are attached to two different parts using their two ends, which keeps the two components apart at a certain angle. These springs use radial direction when force is acting radially due to rotation. CNC machining capabilities can also produce custom two-bodied torsion springs in high volumes. They are often used in Door hinges.

Torsion springs

2. Spiral Springs

Spiral springs are made by coiling rectangular metal strips to create flat spirals. They can store a reasonable amount of energy and release it constantly. It makes them ideal for mechanical watches and toys.

Spiral springs3. Compression Springs

Compression springs are open-coil helical springs that can resist axial compression. They have a constant coiled diameter and a variable shape. One of the simplest examples of their application is in ballpoint pens, where they create the “popping” effect. 

Compression springs

4. Extension Springs

Unlike compression springs, extension springs are closed coil helical springs. They are suitable for creating tension, storing energy, and returning the spring to its original shape. The garage door is a typical example of their applications.

Extension Springs

Type Two: Leaf Springs

Leaf springs are made of rectangular metal plates, also known as leaves. They are typically bolted and clamped and are mostly used in heavy vehicles. There are various leaf springs, each with a specific application. Belowings are different types:

Leaf springs

 1. Transverse Leaf Spring

Transverse leaf springs are created by transversely mounting a semi-elliptical leaf spring along the vehicle’s width. The longest leaf locates at the bottom, and the mid-portion is set to the frame using a U-bolt. Although transverse leaf springs utilize two shackles, they can cause rolling, making them unsuitable for automobile use.

2. Elliptical Leaf Spring

The elliptical leaf spring connects two semi-elliptical springs in opposite directions. The springs create an elliptical shape, which is attached to the axle and frame. The two semi-elliptical springs elongate by the same amount during compression, eliminating the need for spring shackles. Although they were popular in the past, elliptical leaf springs are rarely used in the automotive industry nowadays.

3. Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring

Semi-elliptical leaf springs are the most popular type of leaf springs in automobiles. They are constructed from steel leaves with different lengths but the same width and thickness. The longest leaf at the two ends is the master leaf. Semi-elliptical leaf springs have one end rigidly fixed to the vehicle frame and the other end to the shackle. They absorb shocks when driving on rough terrain and require minimal maintenance.

4. Three-Quarter Elliptical Leaf Spring

This type of leaf spring combines the quarter elliptical spring and semi-elliptical spring. One end of the semi-elliptical part is fixed to the vehicle frame, while the other is attached to the quarter elliptical spring. The other end of the quarter elliptical spring is attached to the edges and head by an I-bolt. The rotational force is dependent on the spring’s rotation.

5. Quarter Elliptical Leaf Spring

Quarter elliptical leaf springs, also called cantilever-type leaf springs, were used previously. They have one end fixed to the side member of the frame using a U-clamp or I-bolt, the other end is freely connected to the front axle. When the front axle beam experiences a shock load, the leaves straighten to absorb the shock.

Type Three: Disk Springs

Disk springs are singular or multiple springs that can be stacked together in series arrangements. This feature allows them to absorb a high load, even in tight spaces. There are different types of disk springs available, including:

Disk Springs

1. Slotted Disk Spring

A disk spring with slots on the inner and outter diameter that results in a lever, reduces spring load, and increases deflection. Slotted disk springs are widely applied in automatic transmissions, clutches, and overload couplings.

2. Belleville Disk Spring

A coned-shaped cupped spring that compresses and allows it to handle heavy loads. It does not lie flat.

3. Wave Disk Springs

These have multiple waves per turn and are suitable for providing precise and predictable loading. They act as a cushion by absorbing stress due to axial compression.

4. Curved Disk Spring

Crescent washers apply light pressure to their mating part to resist loosening due to vibration. They are suitable for distributing loads of threaded bolts, screws, and nuts evenly in machines that produce constant vibration.

Materials Used to Make Springs

Springs can be made from various materials, contrary to the belief that they only come in iron. The material used in making springs determines their properties, types, and applications. Below are some of the common materials that are used in the manufacture of springs:

1. Steel Alloys

Steel alloy springs are the most popular type of spring used. They can be enhanced with other materials but are known for their excellent strength and durability.

2. Beryllium Copper Alloy

This material is known for its high strength, low creep, and excellent conductivity. It is suitable for forming complex shapes and is commonly used to make springs for musical instruments, specific measurement devices, bullets, and other applications.

3. Ceramic

Ceramic springs are suitable for use in high-temperature environments as they are resistant to abrasion and water and have a low coefficient of friction and low density.

4. One-Directional Glass Fiber Composite Materials

These are reinforced glass fibers known for their strength. They are now being considered as a potential material for making all types of springs.

5. Rubber/Urethane

These materials are suitable for making springs with a cylindrical/non-coil design. They are safe and reliable and have applications in products where magnetism, corrosion, and vibration are a concern.

Manufacturing Process Of Springs

The manufacturing process of springs involves several steps like winding, heat treating, grinding, coating, and finishing. Although the process is generally straightforward, it may vary depending on the types of springs being made.

Manufacturing Process Of Springs


Winding is the first step where the workers feed the spring wire into a CNC machining or mechanical spring machine. The wire is straightened, coiled, formed, or bent to the desired shape.

Coiling is used to coil the straightened wire according to the desired coil. This process is used while making compression, extension, and torsion springs. 

Forming, on the other hand, uses several bends and radii to create several desied spring shapes, and is used to make torsion springs, extension springs, and wire forms. 

Bending process involves using a CNC wire machine to bend the straightened wire to different shapes and is applicable in making wire forms.

Heat Treating 

Heat treating is the next step in which the formed spring undergoes a stress relieving process. Heating the spring at a specific temperature for a certain period, based on the type and amount of material, is repeated depending on the material and manufacturing process. Cooling follows.


Grinding is the process of using a grinder to ground the spring’s end flat so that it stands up straight when oriented vertically.

Surface Treatment

Surface treatment is the final step in the process and is essential in improving the aesthetic and functional properties of the spring. Electroplating with copper makes the spring conductive, while powder coating improves its aesthetic value. Finishing options include shot peening for cold-worked springs, plating, powder coating, and anodizing.

Factors affect the selection of springs


Choosing the right spring is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and durability. Several factors must be considered, including load requirements (size and direction), deflection requirements, and spring rate. Material selection depends on environmental factors and fatigue life requirements.

It is important to keep operating temperatures within the material’s limits, and space constraints must be taken into account. The frequency of operation affects fatigue life, while environmental conditions affect material selection. Cost considerations may limit options, but safety concerns may require redundancy or additional safety measures.

Different types of springs are necessary for static and dynamic loads, and appropriate mounting arrangements must be made for each application. Vibration or shock-absorbing springs require specific damping qualities. Corrosion resistance is essential in corrosive environments, and regulatory compliance is frequently necessary. For best performance and lifespan, selecting the proper spring requires considering several parameters. Load requirements are critical, including size and direction, deflection requirements, and spring rate. Material selection is influenced by environmental factors as well as fatigue life requirements.
Operating temperatures must be kept within material limitations, and space is limited. The frequency of operation influences fatigue life, and environmental circumstances influence material selection. Cost factors may restrict possibilities, but safety concerns may mandate redundancy or safety precautions.
Different spring qualities are required for static and dynamic loads, and mounting arrangements must be appropriate for the application. Specific damping qualities are required for vibration or shock absorption springs. Corrosion resistance is critical in corrosive situations, and standard and regulatory compliance is frequently needed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Springs

Advantages of Springs

1. Energy Storage

Springs, such as the spiral spring, can be an alternative to batteries. When force is applied to the spring, it generates energy and releases it constantly, which makes it an important component of mechanical watches.

2. Better Shock-absorbing Capability

Springs are able to reduce the effect of shock by absorbing it, making them an essential part of many products. When a product experiences a shock, the spring compresses and relaxes to absorb it. Therefore, springs are important components of vehicles.

3. Product Stability

By serving as shock absorbers, springs ensure that products that use them are stable. They also help to reduce part friction and vibration.

4. Joining Mechanism

Springs can join two parts of a product or part together. For example, springs are used in garages, doors, and weighing machines to join two parts to function.

Disadvantages of Springs

1. Cost is high

Adding a spring to machinery can be expensive due to the different types of springs available, the ease of making them, the availability of the right materials, and the product design.

2. Efficacy decline Overtime

Springs lose their effectiveness over time due to simultaneous compression and relaxation. It depends on the material used in making them. Eventually, they will fail to obey Hooke’s law, which means they will not return to their original shape after deformation.


Springs play a crucial role in motion products as they can store and release energy when compressed and expanded. With several springs available today, choosing the right one is essential based on their unique features and characteristics, such as the materials used and the design and manufacturing process. Therefore, it’s recommended to consider these factors when selecting a spring for your product.

Enze’s Custom Prototyping Services

Once you thoroughly understand the different types of springs, their use, and what factors influence their selection, the final step is to find a reliable manufacturer. Enze offers a wide range of mechanical springs to meet the requirements of various industries. Furthermore, we provide custom prototyping services that allow you to design and test your spring before committing to an entire production run.

Contact us now for a fast inquiry.