Flat springs, a common type of spring manufactured from strip material, derive their name from their shape, which generally has a high width-to-thickness ratio. Compared to many other spring varieties, which can feature rounded coil shapes, flat springs feature flat or near-flat coil shapes, as their name suggests. When an external load is deflected onto the spring's flat strips, a flat spring can store and release energy.
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Flat Spring Design
Flat springs are available in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses, both of which affect the spring's stiffness. Based on the application, flat springs can be constructed from a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, nickel alloys, beryllium copper, phosphorus bronze, and more. Flat springs also come in many forms, such as cantilever, leaf, custom, and many other varieties. Flat springs are versatile and can be applied in all kinds of contexts, most notably in the automotive industry. In some vehicle suspension systems, for example, flat leaf springs help ensure stability and reduce wear on other parts. Flat springs can also be used in a car's steering and drive axles, exhaust system, and seating. Flat springs can be made out of both metal and plastic; a flat spring's composition depends on its intended application.
Applications of Flat Springs
There are many flat spring varieties, and they are used in all kinds of applications throughout industry and other contexts. Leaf springs, a flat spring variety, historically have been very important components in the automotive industry. Leaf springs are usually constructed of several flat strips of metal stacked one on top of the other, though some leaf springs can be constructed of just one tapered strip of metal. They were essential components in many different kinds of vehicles up until the 1970s when they began to be replaced by more advanced suspension systems. In some cases, though, such as in very large trucks and SUVs, leaf springs are still sometimes used because of their capacity for load distribution. Flat springs are also commonly used in seating to provide support; when several flat springs are employed together in a system, they can absorb and distribute the weight of a seated person. These and many other flat spring configurations and applications make flat springs important utilities throughout industrial, commercial, and consumer products contexts.