Considering the assortment of spring types, examining each of them can pose a challenge. Our focus today is the compression spring. Comprehensive knowledge about compression springs, like their spring rate, is necessary for creating load-bearing applications that respect safety guidelines. For example, a low spring rate can reduce shock loads to significantly lower g forces given their gradual application of force over a deceleration distance. But for applications that require limiting movement to lower distances, a high spring rate could be the better choice. We intend to deepen your knowledge through this article, helping you make informed decisions when designing with compression springs.

Definition of a Compression Spring

A compression spring is a cylindrical coil that resists compressive forces. These forces cause the spring to decrease in size while providing a resisting force in an attempt to maintain its original length. This happens without any external stimulus, distinguishing itself as a fundamental attribute of the compression spring.

In engineering, several parameters play decisive roles in the functionality of the spring. These include the material of the spring, diameter of the wire, diameter of the coil, and number of coils. These factors directly influence the stiffness and durability of the spring, identifiable in practical applications like car suspension systems. For example, a compression spring with insufficient stiffness in a car suspension might lead to uneven tire wear or hard handling.

When selecting a compression spring, applied force, required spring rate, and operational environment must be considered. For instance, in environments with high exposure to corrosive elements, a spring made of stainless steel, known for its corrosion-resistant properties, might be beneficial.

Compression Spring Applications

Compression springs are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, industrial machines, and electronics due to their inherent properties and changeable designs. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on their usage within the automotive industry, specifically in a vehicle's suspension system.

In a vehicle's suspension, compression springs have the primary task of maintaining the ride height by counteracting the downward pressure of the vehicle and its load. This allows for terrain changes and load variations to be better navigated, affording passengers comfort and providing improved vehicle control. This functionality is due to the basic principle of the springs storing mechanical energy when a force is applied and releasing it as required.

The success of a spring in this context is impacted by elements such as spring rate, load, and deflection. For situations involving heavy loads, springs with a high spring rate are generally more suitable, as they resist compression more effectively. Conversely, for light loads, springs with lower spring rates are often in demand. This is a result of the fundamental physics of a spring, where the rate indicates how much force it will take for the spring to compress a certain distance. In direct terms, a higher rate means greater force is needed for compression, making it more compatible for handling more substantial loads. It is important to note that the specifics can vary, and during the design process these different properties will need to be balanced to achieve the desired outcomes.

Compression Spring Selection Tips


To conclude, compression springs serve significant roles in numerous industrial and domestic uses because of their capacity to conserve mechanical energy. Understanding their design, function, and selection criteria is necessary for the successful completion of any project involving their use. The outcome of your design depends on the selection of suitable components, and as such, a thorough understanding of compression springs' features will positively impact your project's end result.