Spring steel is a low-alloy, medium-carbon steel or high-carbon steel with a very high yield strength. This allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape despite significant bending or twisting.
There are two main methods of production :
The most common involving the heat treatment process known as hardening and tempering, where medium and high carbon steels are heated and quenched. Whilst this achieves high yield strength, the process introduces brittleness and the material is subsequently tempered to remove the stresses and greatly reduce the risk of the material breaking in use. The presence of carbon is key to this process.
The second production method involves utilising the work hardening nature of steel to achieve high tensile strength. This is achieved by cold working, through rolling or drawing and is more commonly used with the austenitic stainless range of materials.
Common Spring Steel Grades
- Spring steel is also commonly used in the manufacture of metal swords used for stage combat due to its resistance to snapping or shattering.
- Spring steel is one of the most popular materials used in the fabrication of lockpicks due to its pliability and resilience.
- Tubular spring steel is used in some of the smaller aircraft's landing gear due to its ability to absorb the shock from landing & also acts like damping.
- Applications also include piano wire, spring clamps, antennas.
- It is also commonly used in the making of knives.