A compression spring is a length of rod that has been molded to form a helical shape. It basically has the shape of the most common type of spring. It is also easily mistaken with an extension spring, which functions to achieve the opposite effect. A compression spring is like the one we find in our pens, chairs and other simple tools in the house. It is called a compression spring because it produces a force that negates an opposing force exerted on its top or bottom. Meaning it pushes that certain object that caused the change in the normal pressure when the spring is not influenced by an external force.
It may seem that springs are easy to make. Just a use a few rods, wound to form the shape, then voila, you have a spring. Yet there is a complex calculation to make in forging a compression spring that not many people know about. Spring manufacturers even have a calculator to do it for them. It gets them the spring force, the amount of force exerted by the spring when the load is released, and the compression tension, which is the amount of force exerted by a certain weight per pitch.
A compression spring has many uses. One is in the shock absorbers of a car or a motorcycle. These springs are attached to the body of these machines from the tires to reduce the amount and strength of vibration that the road imposes on the vehicle. Like the rubber tire and leaf spring under a car, the compression spring works virtually every time you turn on your vehicle. Without it, your smooth ride from home to your office would be like a day on the road with an earthquake that charts 7 on the Richter scale.
Compression springs are used in all sorts of mechanisms, from small to big machines. From pens to tractors, this simple object provides a predictable and stable function that only changes when time takes its toll on it, which is pretty much the same for everything else on this planet. Even aerospace technicians cannot make do without the presence of the spring in their tool box.
Although technology has changed the number of functions that compression springs are taking on today, there are lots of functions that only compression springs can do superbly. These springs are easy to replace, cheap and highly reliable even with their dead-on simplicity. Imagine having hydraulics on your switches. It would be too impractical and expensive.
A close resemblance between spring washers and compression springs in terms of function is only differentiated with close observation of their ability to deflect. A spring washer’s deflection rate is not proportional to the amount of spring. Meaning, the spring force it produces does not depend on the number of times the rod is twisted, like in compression springs.
It seems that simplicity never fails to achieve what it has to accomplish. With regard to the compression spring, it is its simplicity that makes other complex machines work.