The term “Flat Springs” covers a wide range of springs or stampings fabricated from flat strip material which, on being deflected by an external load, will store and then release energy. Only a small portion of a complex shaped stamping may actually be functioning as a spring. For the purposes of design, that portion which acts as a spring may often be considered as an independent simple spring form, while the rest of the part is temporarily ignored. There are two basic types of flat springs, Cantilever and Beam. In comparing the load and stress equations for both types of springs, it can be seen that an equal active length of identical cross section produces 16 times the load in a simple beam spring as in a cantilever spring.However, the stress in the simple beam spring is four times that of the cantilever spring for a given deflection. The differences between the two types of springs cancel out when they are compared in terms of volume of active spring material. A simple beam spring can be designed with greater length and decreased thickness so it will have the same load, same deflection, same stress and the same volume of material as a given cantilever spring. Because load varies as the third power of the thickness, the flat spring material should have a minimum variation in thickness. Load also varies as the third power of length.
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