Although the role of gas struts and classic springs is almost the same, their principle and application vary. In this article, we will briefly describe the mechanism of their operation and will also clarify when it is advisable to use struts or springs.
Mechanical springs accumulate energy
Springs have the ability to accumulate mechanical energy based on the elastic deformation of the material. They capture and dampen shocks and maintain the balance of forces. They serve to flexibly couple two or more components.
Their disadvantage is the accumulation of mechanical energy, which is not always desirable. Because of this, the spring compresses or extends a bit more and does not return to its default position immediately. Subsequently, vibrations occur.
Gas struts work with pressure
There are traction, compression and locking gas struts. All types consist of a piston rod inserted into a cylinder. The cylinder is filled with nitrogen. The piston rod slides in (in the case of a compression strut) or out (in the case of a traction strut) into / out of the cylinder.
As a result, the internal volume of nitrogen is reduced, and the pressure is increased. By applying this pressure on the piston of the piston rod, a force is generated which gradually pushes the piston rod out of the cylinder. In the case of a traction strut, it, of course, pulls the piston rod back inside.
Suitability of use of springs and struts
The advantage of gas struts is the gradual increase in the force during sliding in or out. If you release a mechanical spring, it releases all of its energy at once. For example, a kitchen door (or any door) would become dangerous if a spring was used.
In addition, the struts can be locked in a chosen position, which is almost impossible in case of using a spring.
On the other hand, springs can absorb shocks faster, almost instantly. Therefore, they are used in cases where the force change is too rapid, for example as a spring on vehicles.
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