Wave Spring FAQs
Wave springs can offer force tolerances that are up to 50% tighter than a standard stamped wave washer. You can also expect more predictable loading since the spring rate remains relatively linear over a larger operating range.
Wave springs are designed to provide a specified load at a given working height. Anything between the uncompressed free height and fully compressed solid height can be considered the operating range. To ensure predictable loading, we recommend specifying the working height to stay between certain operating ranges based on the style of wave spring:
- Multiturn wave springs typically provide predictable loading between 20 to 80% deflection
- Single turn and nested wave springs typically provide predictable loading between 30 to 70% deflection
Wave springs exhibit lower fatigue rates than equivalent coil spring designs. When used within their optimum range of deflection— dependent on the characteristics of the wave spring you’ve selected—these components will last much longer than a traditional coil spring. Also, wave springs often require half the axial space to operate. This allows assemblies to save on space and weight, which are critical factors in measuring fatigue and life expectancies.
There are many ways to approach this challenge. Depending on the application and the environment, you might want to change the thickness of the wire to compensate for the higher load.
And when it’s not possible to coil a ticker wire for a given spring size to accommodate higher forces, wave spring layers can be coiled in parallel layers together to create a nested wave spring. Another method might be to increase the number of waves. Finally, changing the material type might provide the variation you need to handle the higher stiffness and load capacity.
Wave springs can be made from a wide variety of materials, most often carbon spring steel and stainless steel. Exotic alloys such as Hastelloy, Inconel, and Elgiloy are available to withstand highly corrosive environments as well as high temperatures.
Wave springs offer superior operation in many applications, from aerospace to marine and from oil and gas to medical. The variations in environment and implementation demand that the component be available for almost any condition.
As mentioned above, there are wave springs available for almost every environmental condition you can think of. Because wave springs can be made from almost any material, even temperatures into the 1,300°F range are possible when using special alloys such as Inconel 718.
Not always. Wave springs operate in such a way that they are superior to coil springs in certain applications because they provide lower work heights with the same force. This not only provides for space savings, but also smaller assemblies that use less materials, hence lowering the cost of the assembly as a whole.
Single-turn wave springs provide benefits when used in bearing preload applications, as connector and fluid power seals, and noise and vibration attenuation or an ultrasonic motor, as shown below. Multi-turn wave springs excel as mechanical seals, in a variety of power transmission applications, and fluid power systems whether in industrial equipment, automotive, medical, aerospace, marine, petrochemical, and other applications as shown in the bottom image below in a fluid power quick connect.
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