Springs are common components used in various applications for energy storage and applying force. However, their performance can decrease when exposed to very high temperatures. In this article, we'll look at how high temperatures influence springs through applicable examples, such as car suspension springs used in hot environments. These springs may lose their initial strength and flexibility due to prolonged exposure to heat. By comprehending these scenarios, engineers can design durable springs that retain their function even in severe temperature conditions.

Examples of Extreme High Temperature Environments:

Effect of High Temperature on Spring Constant

Elevated temperatures can modify the spring constant, a significant parameter for the behavior of a spring. The spring constant describes the amount of force required to change a spring's length by a certain displacement. As temperatures climb, the material's modulus of elasticity, a measure of a material's deformability under load, often declines. This lessening in resistance to deformation appears as a drop in the spring constant, yielding less force applied by the spring for the same displacement.

This effect can influence a spring and modify its behavior. For instance, springs in the aerospace industry used in heat shielding mechanisms have shown diminished performance due to exposure to the severe temperatures of atmospheric re-entry. This exposure caused a failure in the springs' capacity to sustain the heat shield's form, leading to equipment failure.

Nonetheless, a reduction in the spring constant in high-temperature settings can be advantageous in specific instances. For instance, springs for ovens are engineered with a decreased spring constant to avoid mechanical failure. Despite seeming less rigid at standard temperature, these springs retain their force-deflection characteristic when at working temperatures.

The temperature-dependency of spring constants must be evaluated with precise regard in, especially in designs purposed for elevated temperature settings. This consideration can facilitate a balance between retaining functionality and avoiding equipment malfunction.

Material Selection for Extreme Temperature Environments

Material choice plays a critical role in spring design for high-temperature conditions. Inconel alloys are frequently chosen due to their properties such as stability at high temperatures, lack of change in elastic modulus with temperature variation, and persistent resistance to oxidation and corrosion. Inconel shows endurance under high heat stress, making it appropriate for high-temperature situations like nuclear reactors and engine exhaust systems.

Meanwhile, some stainless steel types, including AISI 316 and AISI 302, are also resistant to high temperatures. AISI 316 remains effective up to 925°C, while AISI 302 functions effectively when temperatures vary, not remaining constantly high. AISI 302 is less reliable when constantly exposed to extreme heat, as seen in applications such as furnace element supports where persistently high temperatures are posed.

In cases where springs need to operate under continuously high temperatures, Inconel may be the preferable material, despite its increased cost. Preserving the spring constant and mechanical strength in these high-temperature applications is a primary factor to consider over other material attributes. This illustrates the association between a material's properties and its suitability for usage in specific temperature ranges.


In the field of engineering, high temperatures can challenge the adequate working and durability of springs. Exposure to intense heat may compromise a spring's functioning, and, in turn, its lifespan. Nonetheless, the selection of suitable materials can prove an effective way to mitigate - or even offset - these adverse effects on the spring's reliability and resilience. Each material reveals a distinct behaviour when subjected to heat, a reality that, in and of itself, underscores the great bearing it has on spring design. Given the diverse range of uses, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. However, being aware of how different types of springs react under extreme temperatures is a vital part of ensuring high-quality spring designs for high-temperature applications.