“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Stress can be damaging, it can break you, if not dealt with correctly it can even kill you. However, stress can also be quite useful. When managed adequately it may serve a greater purpose, such as increased productivity and improved functionality.
What is Spring Stress?
Spring stress is the pressure or tension placed on a spring. There are three main factors that play a role in spring stress. One is the spring index (how tight the coils are). Another is the working loads or force it undergoes. Lastly, the environment the spring is in can also create additional stress (such as high heat). These three factors make up spring stress and will directly affect its capacity and lifespan.
Factors that Affect Spring Stress Also Apply to Human Stress
The same goes for humans. There are three main factors that play a role in the stress we face.
- Spring Index: how we are shaped. Similar to spring index, this is how tight or flexible we have learned to become.
- Working loads: how much we take on, our schedules, projects and the bulk of demands placed on us.
- Environment: the people around us and how encouraging or toxic they are, the relationships with others and how healthy or heated it all becomes.
We often face very stressful situations that, when dealt with correctly, only make us wiser, stronger, and more capable. The same goes for springs.
Stress Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
Many times, stress (including spring stress), sounds like a bad thing, but this isn’t always the case. When it is used correctly, and in the right proportion, it might just work to your favor. A spring with a low index has tighter coils, which creates stress in the spring. And even though tighter coils create more stress, this also makes the spring sturdier and stronger. Some applications and situations require a stronger spring, one that can get the job done. Isn’t this how it works for humans too?
If the spring is placed in the right conditions and the elastic limit is respected, the spring will work flawlessly. A spring’s elastic limits are how far it can be compressed, extended, or torqued before it breaks down. Yup, pretty much like humans, we too have limits. In springs these limits can be categorized under elastic limit or maximum safe travel (how far it can travel without a negative repercussion).
Knowing the elastic limit/maximum safe travel
To avoid your spring taking a set (or breaking down): know your maximum travel (how far you can compress, extend, or torque), and try not to reach the max. Instead, set a safer limit. The lifespan of your spring (as well as yours) depends on it.
To know what is the maximum safe travel of your spring, try entering the dimensions and characteristics of your spring into our spring calculator, Spring Creator, here on our website (or download the app). Once you click “Calculate” it will give you a full analysis of your spring. Under the 3rd Step where it says “Review Your Answers”, you will see a section that says: Safe Travel.
Unfortunately we have not yet created a calculator that can quickly determine a human’s limits, so you will have to do this the old fashion way, by trial and error.
Lifespan is prolonged by respecting the limits
When you maintain your spring within the recommended working loads and place it in the right environment, your spring should have a long and productive lifespan. When you don’t, well, the outcome isn’t pretty.
The take home lesson? If you are a company and want your spring to last, use the right spring for the job. Know how much stress it can handle and manage it right. Learn the elastic limits and never go past the maximum travel. This will expand the lifespan of your spring.