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spring constant

Spring stiffness of a helical spring

Once in a while I have to find the stiffness of a spring that I get from the local hardware shop.  I usually use a formula that can be found in some books on mechanics of materials.

But the assumptions bother me a bit because the springs that I used usually underwent large deformations and I wasn't sure whether the numbers I was using were correct or not.  

To check the formula I compared its predicted k to numbers from Abaqus simulations and found reasonably good results for many situations - but not for soft springs.

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