Springs vs Dampers

Springs vs Dampers

Springs and Dampers are used in mechanical systems for different reasons. While springs are used to return an assembly to its initial position once it has been displaced, dampers are used to reduce the amplitude of oscillations.

Springs are introduced to reduce the displacement due to the system’s response to a given excitation. Dampers are added to reduce the velocity of the system’s response to excitations at certain frequencies, usually the resonant frequency of the system. Not only does this reduce the amplitude of these oscillations, but it will also slightly decrease the resonant frequency of the system.

The forces on a spring depend on its displacement. This is defined in the equation F = k * s, where k is the spring constant, and x is the displacement. Therefore, if there is no displacement away from the neutral position of the spring, there is no spring force. For more information about the Law of Elasticity, please see (https://www.fea-solutions.co.uk/law-of-elasticity/).

The damping force however depends on velocity. The damping force is defined by the equation F = c * v, where c is the damping constant and v is the velocity. Therefore, if there is no movement in the system, there is no damping force.

For more information on displacement, velocity and acceleration, have a look at (https://www.fea-solutions.co.uk/displacement-velocity-and-acceleration/).

Springs and Dampers can be implemented into a system alongside one another, or as part of the same component. An example for the latter is the shock absorber in a vehicle suspension, as it has a spring acting around a central damper.

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