When a significant amount of force is applied to a metal, it causes the structure of the material to change shape. This deformation can be detrimental to some applications, but not when springs are involved. Deformation is the very nature of a spring, as their primary purpose is to change shape when forces are applied to them. What makes springs different from other components is their ability to “spring” back to their normal state after deflection takes place. certain types of deformation are normal for springs while other will cause application failure.

And thus we have the primary difference between elastic and plastic deformation in mechanical springs.

What is Elastic Deformation?

Elastic deformation is a temporary deformation of a material caused by a force that is applied to it. Once the force is removed, the material returns to its normal shape, size, etc. Springs allow for elastic deformation so long as the force being applied to them doesn’t exceed their durability. If the force becomes too great, the deformation to the spring will change from elastic to plastic.

What is Plastic Deformation?

Plastic deformation is the permanent change in a material’s shape when the stress applied to it by a force becomes too great. Once the force is removed, the material does not recover. Plastic deformation is detrimental to springs and is often caused by springs that are not designed to fit their given application. High temperatures can also cause deformation in springs if they are made out of materials that are not resistant to the temperature they are operating at.

Avoiding Plastic Deformation

Deformation ultimately leads to application failure, which is why it’s imperative that manufacturers use custom springs because they are specifically designed to fit each application they are made for. Ready to get started on your custom springs? Contact The Yost Superior Co. today.