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A spring is a mechanical device that stores energy. There are many different designs of springs, but the most recognized form is the coil spring.


A spring is a device used to store energy. The most recognizable design is the coil spring. Springs can be made from a wide range of substances, but they are most commonly made from metals. Varying the type and the amount of material can change some of the properties of the spring.

When a spring is compressed or extended from its resting position, it exerts force. With a conventional spring, the force exerted is proportional to the change in length. This means if you stretch it twice as far the force will increase twice as well. If springs are extended too much, then the deform and proportionality between extension and compression stops. This happens when a spring reaches its elastic limit. The relationship between distance and force was described mathematically by British scientist Robert Hooke.

It is very difficult to know who was the inventor of non-coiled springs, as they have been used for thousands of years. A bow and arrow is an example of something that uses this spring technology. When the string of the bow is drawn, energy is stored in the bow and is released when the string is released. Non-coiled springs were also used by the Egyptians as suspension for their chariots. Coiled springs were invented in 1763 by R. Tradwell. Coiled springs offered an advantage to non-coil springs, as they didn’t need to be tensioned or lubricated. Another type of spring, known as a torsion spring, produces an opposing force when it is twisted.

Springs are now used in a wide range of different applications. Springs are still used for suspension in vehicles and are also used for mattresses and light switches.

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Uses of Springs

  • Bow and Arrow
  • Clocks
  • Vehicle Suspension
  • Mattress
  • Hair Clip
Learn more about inventions and discoveries that have changed the world in our Picture Encyclopedia of Innovations!
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