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Structural Analysis of Compression Helical Spring Used

in Suspension System
Akshat Jain1,a), Arun Jindal2,b), Prateek Lakhiani3,c), Sheelam Misra4,d)
Corresponding author: akshat2151996@gamil.com
Another author: arunjindal564@gmail.com,
Another author: prateek.lakhiani@gmail.com,
Another Author: smisra1@amity.edu
Amity University Noida, Uttar Pradesh, INDIA

Abstract: The main aim of this work has to develop a helical spring for shock absorber used in suspension system which is
designed to reduce shock impulse and liberate kinetic energy. In a vehicle, it increases comfort by decreasing amplitude of
disturbances and it improves ride quality by absorbing and dissipating energy. When a vehicle is in motion on a road and
strikes a bump, spring comes into action quickly. After compression, spring will attempt to come to its equilibrium state
which is on level road. Helical springs can be made lighter with more strength by reducing number of coils and increasing
the area. In this research work, a helical spring is modeled and analyzed to substitute the existing steel spring which is used
in suspension. By using different materials, stress and deflection of helical spring can be varied. Comparability between
existing spring and newly replaced spring is used to verify the results. For finding detailed stress distribution, finite element
analysis is used to find stresses and deflection in both the helical springs. Finite element analysis is a method which is used
to find proximate solutions of a physical problem defined in a finite domain. In this research work, modeling of spring is
accomplished using Solid Works and analysis on Ansys.

Keywords: Compression spring, Helical spring, Finite element Analysis, Deformation ,Maximum Shear stress.

Suspension system plays a vital role in protecting chassis of vehicle from being damaged due to irregularities on
the road. For this purpose, springs are used as shock absorbers in suspension system which absorbs shock impulse
and dissipate kinetic energy. Without these absorbers, passengers will experience a bouncing ride as all energy is
transferred to the vehicle through springs. Stiffer springs are used in above case which causes harsh ride. Soft
springs damp the movement of unsprung weight vertically and cause effective wheel bounce damping. Metal
springs absorb the impact loads reduces the collision speed and shock loading under low cost. They can be
operated at various temperatures with harsh environment. Metal springs accumulate energy in place of liberating it.
If metal as a spring material is used in shock absorbers, steps should be taken to restrict Oscillations. Various types
of metal springs include helical springs, Wave springs, leaf springs etc. Each spring type has its own operating

Helical spring:
The elementary elastic members of suspension system are helical compression springs that connect the wheel to
body and store the energy, absorb the shock due to road irregularities and transmitted to the body [1]. Fatigue
failure is caused due to dynamic loading in suspension system in different ways. The inner surface of active coil is
under maximum stress and coil surface is sensitive to imperfections of material that causes stress concentration at
various points which initiates the fatigue cracking. Helical springs can be classified, considering loads as helical
compression, tension and torsion spring. Commercially the springs are made from metal material the main factor
to be considered for the spring design is strain energy. In closed coil helical spring, helix angle is very small which
is less than 10 degrees. The loads are applied axially and shear stresses are produced due to swiveling. Open coiled
springs have large gaps between turns and have large helix angles which can be used as compression or tensioning
element. For the compression spring the stresses originated in the spring are shear and torsion. Because of large
strength to weight ratio, steel springs are replaced with composite helical spring.
In this segment, literatures review study concentrated the information regarding the various factors of the
compression spring. The researchers throughout the years had done different research methods such as Theoretical,
Numerical and Experimental. Researchers used above and FEM methods. Study verifies that FEM is superior to
numerical solution and helps to calculate the stress, life cycle and shear stress of compression spring. [2]
Designed a shock absorber of 150cc bike in pro/engineer software, compared spring steel and beryllium copper for
finding best material in a present design and a modified design of the spring. To validate the design modal and
structural analysis was performed in Ansys. By analyzing the results, analyzed stress values came out less than
yield stress values and stress value is less for spring steel than Beryllium copper. In modified design, 2 mm
diameter of the spring is was reduced and analysis is done which results in reduction of spring weight and again
stress values comes out less for modified design as compared to present design. The results showed that best
material for spring was spring steel and modified design was safe to use. [3] used filament winding technique to
design the spring in which they adopted process of fabrication and various procurements were used. Principles of
rule of mixture were used to measure fibre volume fraction and mass fraction. observations from the load-
deflection curves shows that there was uneven behaviour of deflection with respect to loads which may be due to
brittle nature of glass fibre and small crack inside the spring but not damaging the whole composite spring.
Stiffness was calculated from the curves which showed that composite helical spring stiffness is 43.76% less
compared to conventional metal spring. Though the stiffness of composite spring was less, spring is designed with
fewer coils to increase stiffness without effecting load carrying capacity. The weight of the composite spring was
42.63% less than conventional spring. The theoretical results concluded that composite helical spring can store
more strain energy than conventional which is essential for suspension. [4] Optimized values for new strut
manufactured by the supplier and analyzed spring stiffness and damping coefficient of original and modified
design. Spring stiffness was optimized to obtain comfortable ride which was observed using MATLAB and quarter
car test rig. By reducing spring stiffness, vertical accelerations experienced by the passengers were decreased. The
stress level in modified design was low than yield stress and weight was also reduced. The displacement values in
modified design were less, so the design was safe. [5] studied the mass centralization concept to balance uneven
vibrations in telescopic forks used in front suspension. The rate of damping characteristics was analysed using
mono shock geometry. Helical spring of three different materials- alloy steel, stainless steel, chromium vanadium
steel were compared at constant load of 850N to find maximum shear stress and deflection theoretically and
analytically using solid works as a modelling software and analysed results using Ansys. From the results of graph
between load-maximum shear stress, the analytical curve crossed the yield strength of material with increasing
load due to breaking of spring. Among the materials alloy steel gives better stress and deformation values due to
material stability and ductility so alloy steel is mostly used as bike suspension spring as it can stay stable up to load
of 2550N. [6] Concentrated on the innovations that have come about in the suspension area of vehicles. Fibre
Reinforced Material (FRP) components were the main interest of automobile sector for replacing the steel due to
"high strength to low weight" ratio. To reduce the weight and fuel consumption they used Glass Fibre Reinforced
Plastic (GFRP) open coil springs instead of steel open coil springs. Spring geometry was modelled in CREO
software and Finite Element method was used to analyze under different loading conditions. Finally steel spring
was replaced by Carbon and Kevlar. The analysis of helical spring was used in automobile was done on 3 different
materials such as steel, carbon fiber fabric and Kevlar fabric. The results were obtained by the analytical
calculation and FEA results were compared and found to be similar with 13% error. Carbon has highest stiffness to
weight ratio as compared to other materials used for manufacturing of spring. The weight of carbon was very low
as compared to steel spring which made it beneficial to use carbon spring instead of steel spring to reduce overall
weight of the vehicle. [7] focused on the failure of compression spring for heavy vehicles and analyzed the reason
behind the failure of compression coil spring at transition position from the bearing coil to the first active coil, the
nominal stress should always be much less than that at the inside coil position of a fully active coil. They also
conducted Visual Observations that indicated that a wear scar was developed on the first active coil and the
fractured surface showed radiating ridges for the same. The examination of Scanning electron microscopy reported
Crescent shaped region and beach marks mainly from fatigue failure. Local stress concentration was induced due
to corrosion and corrosion pits which aroused due to contact and friction. Fatigue crack of the suspension spring
aroused due to acts of wear, corrosion amalgamated with stress singularities at contact zone of the closed ends.
Stress analysis indicated severe stress singularities at the edges of the contact zone, which facilitated cycle slip and
fatigue crack nucleation. The results concluded that once the crack was initiated, it was the maximum principle
tensile stress that forced the crack to propagate along the 45 direction with the axis of the spring wire by stress and
chemical analysis. In closed ends, to reduce corrosion, Solid lubrication film could be used.

Helical Spring Parameters:

Mean coil diameter of spring(D) = 40 mm
Wire diameter (d) = 8 mm
Number of active turns (n) = 14
Free length (Ls)= 220mm
Wahl's factor (ks)
Spring Index (C)
Wight of bike = 125 kg
Wight of one person = 75 kg
Weight of 2 persons = 150 kg
For rear suspension = 65% of the weight
Weight of bike+ one person (W1) = 200kg
Weight of bike + two persons (W2) = 275kg
65% of W1 = 136.5 kg
65% of W2 = 178.75 kg
For single shock absorber ,

( . ) .
W1 = = 1339.065 N
( . ) .
W2 = = 1751.085 N
C= = =5
ks = + = 1.3105

= (1)

= (2 )


Stainless steel:-
Mechanical properties Values
Density 7750 kg/m3
Young's modulus 1.93E+11 Pa
Poison's ratio 0.31
Shear modulus 7.3664E+10 Pa
Bulk modulus 1.693E+11 Pa

Load of 1339.065 N

(a) (b)
FIGURE 1. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.

Load of 1751.085 N

(a) (b)

FIGURE 2. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.

Load (N) Deflection (Ansys) (mm) Deflection (Analytical)(mm) Max. shear stress(Ansys) (MPa)

1339.065 3.4718 3.976 219.24

1751.085 4.4929 5.19 283.72

Structural steel
Mechanical properties Values
Density 7850 kg/m3
Young's modulus 2E+11 Pa
Poison's ratio 0.3
Shear modulus 7.6923E+10 Pa
Bulk modulus 1.6667E+11 Pa

Load of 1339.065 N

(a) (b)

FIGURE 3. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.

Load of 1751.085 N
(a) (b)

FIGURE 4. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.

Load (N) Deflection (Ansys) (mm) Deflection (Analytical) (mm) Max. shear stress(Ansys) (MPa)

1339.065 3.4978 3.98 219.24

1751.085 4.5266 4.98 283.73

Titanium alloy
Mechanical properties Values
Density 4620 kg/m3
Young's modulus 9.6E+10 Pa
Poison's ratio 0.36
Shear modulus 3.5294E+10 Pa
Bulk modulus 1.1429E+11 Pa

Load of 1339.065N

(a) (b)
FIGURE 5. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.

Load of 1751.085 N

(a) (b)

FIGURE 6. (a) shows deformation & (b) shows maximum shear stress.
Load (N) Deflection (Ansys) (mm) Deflection (Analytical) (mm) Max. shear stress(Ansys) (MPa)

1339.065 6.7465 7.05 194.01

1751.085 9.89 10.85 284.55

Deformation(Ansys) Max. Shear stress

V/s Load (Ansys) V/s Load
15 300

Max. Shear Stress (MPa)

Deformation (mm)

10 Titanium 200 Titanium

5 alloy 100 alloy
0 0
Structural Structural
steel steel
Stainless Stainless
Steel steel
Load (N) Load (N)

(a) (b)
FIGURE 7. (a) shows graph between deformation v/s load & (b) shows graph between maximum shear stress & load.

Comparison of analytical
and Ansys deflection
(Stainless Steel) v/s Load

1339.065 1751.085
Load (N)

FIGURE 8. shows graph between analytical and Ansys deflection v/s load.

Comparison of analytical and

max. Shear stress (Stainless
steel) V/s Load
Max. Shear Stress (MPa)

200 Analytical
0 Ansys
1339.065 751.085
Load (N)

FIGURE 9. shows graph between analytical and Ansys maximum shear stress v/s load.
The results shows that Stainless steel and structural steel have approximately near and less deflection as compared
to titanium alloy . Titanium alloy has better deformation and shear stress results with respect other two materials as
obtained from FEM though a drop is observed in shear stress in titanium alloy under low loading conditions due to
titanium's physical properties. Most preferably, titanium alloy is used in suspension of two wheelers it reduces
overall weight and lower torsion modulus ensures Shorter spring with same load capacity. The analytical and
Ansys results for Max. shear stress and deflection is observed with a small error. Thus, it validates that titanium
alloy is better material than structural steel and stainless steel for helical compression springs .

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