What is Spring potential energy: Definition and 17 Discussions

A spring is an elastic object that stores mechanical energy. Springs are typically made of spring steel. There are many spring designs. In everyday use, the term often refers to coil springs.
When a conventional spring, without stiffness variability features, is compressed or stretched from its resting position, it exerts an opposing force approximately proportional to its change in length (this approximation breaks down for larger deflections). The rate or spring constant of a spring is the change in the force it exerts, divided by the change in deflection of the spring. That is, it is the gradient of the force versus deflection curve. An extension or compression spring's rate is expressed in units of force divided by distance, for example or N/m or lbf/in. A torsion spring is a spring that works by twisting; when it is twisted about its axis by an angle, it produces a torque proportional to the angle. A torsion spring's rate is in units of torque divided by angle, such as N·m/rad or ft·lbf/degree. The inverse of spring rate is compliance, that is: if a spring has a rate of 10 N/mm, it has a compliance of 0.1 mm/N. The stiffness (or rate) of springs in parallel is additive, as is the compliance of springs in series.
Springs are made from a variety of elastic materials, the most common being spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication. Some non-ferrous metals are also used including phosphor bronze and titanium for parts requiring corrosion resistance and beryllium copper for springs carrying electrical current (because of its low electrical resistance).

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  1. DracoMalfoy

    Conservation of Energy: Spring PE: Toy gun on spring

    Homework Statement A toy gun is pointed toward the sky. A Styrofoam ball of mass 10g is at rest against a spring compressed 2cm. The spring is released causing the ball to move upward through the air to a max height of 1m. The air exerts a frictional force of 0.35N on the ball. What is the...
  2. DracoMalfoy

    Spring Potential Energy: Horizontal Spring Problem

    Homework Statement A horizontal spring with a constant of 700N/m is compressed 2cm. A ball of mass 200g is placed in front of the spring. The spring is released. The ball slides along a horizontal track for 10cm while experiencing a frictional force of 0.75N. What is the velocity of the ball at...
  3. RoboNerd

    Potential energy in stretched spring

    Homework Statement Five identical masses of mass M are suspended by a spring stretched a distance of L. If three of the masses are removed, what is the potential energy stored in the spring? 1) (4 / 25) * M * g * L 2) (2 / 5) M * g * L^2 3) (5 / 2) * M g * L 4) (4 / 25 ) * M * g L^2 5) 5 * M *...
  4. K

    Spring potential energy and mass

    Homework Statement One end of a vertical spring of spring constant k = 1900 N/m is attached to the floor. You compress the spring so that it is 2.50 m shorter than its relaxed length, place a 1.00-kg ball on top of the free end, and then release the system att = 0. (All values are measured in...
  5. S

    Approximate spring potential energy U(x) for small oscillations

    Homework Statement "Take a PE function U(x), which has an equilibrium point at x=0, and provides a restoring force in that region, and show that a Taylor expansion around that area can be approximated by a SHO PE function for small x." Homework Equations U=.5kx^2...x =...
  6. Glenboro

    How High Will the Ball Bearing Rise When Released from a Compressed Spring?

    Homework Statement A ball bearing of mass m = 50.0 g, is sitting on a vertical spring whose force constant is 120.0 N/m. The initial position of the spring is at y = 0 m[/B] a) The spring is compressed downward a distance x = 0.200 m. From the compressed position, how high will the ball...
  7. J

    Spring Potential Energy problem: Where did I go wrong?

    A spring with k= 53 N/m hangs vertically next to a ruler. The end of the spring is next to the 15-cm mark on the ruler. If a 2.5-kg mass is now attached to the end of the spring, where will the end of the spring line up with ruler marks? According to the book, the final reading will be 61 cm...
  8. D

    Spring potential energy problem

    Homework Statement A block of mass m = 3.5 kg is dropped from height h = 81 cm onto a spring of spring constant k = 2220 N/m (Fig. 8-37). Find the maximum distance the spring is compressed. Homework Equations Pe(spring) = 1/2kx2 Pe(gravity)=mgh Ke = 1/2mv2 The Attempt at a...
  9. L

    Vertical Spring Potential Energy?

    Homework Statement Say I have a vertical spring, with a mass attached to the bottom of the spring, and the spring is attached to the ceiling. Say I push up on the mass compressing the spring, and then I release the spring from rest. Do I need to take into account the gravitational...
  10. P

    Spring Potential energy, should be easy?

    Homework Statement A spring with a spring constant of 500 N/m is used to propel a 0.42-kg mass up an inclined plane. The spring is compressed 30 cm from its equilibrium position and launches the mass from rest across a horizontal surface and onto the plane. The plane has a length l = 3 m and...
  11. C

    Calculating Spring Compression for Escape Velocity from Spinning Asteroid

    Homework Statement A package of mass 9 kg sits at the equator of an airless asteroid of mass 6.1 * 10^5 kg and radius 36 m, which is spinning so that a point on the equator is moving with speed 2 m/s. We want to launch the package in such a way that it will never come back, and when it is...
  12. S

    Work-Energy Theorum: Spring potential energy vs Kinetic Energy

    [SOLVED] Work-Energy Theorum: Spring potential energy vs Kinetic Energy Homework Statement A 1350-kg car rolling on a horizontal surface has a speed v = 40 km/h when it strikes a horizontal coiled spring and is brought to rest in a distance of 2.5 m. What is the spring constant of the...
  13. F

    How Is Kinetic and Potential Energy Balanced in Harmonic Motion?

    (a) Consider a particle of mass m moving along the x-axis under the influence of a spring with spring constant k. The equilibrium point is at x = 0, and the amplitude of the motion is A. (i) At what point x is the kinetic energy of the particle equal to its potential energy? For this do i...
  14. S

    Finding the Speed of a Mass Attached to a Spring Returning to its Relaxed Length

    Homework Statement A horizontal spring with stiffness 0.6 N/m has a relaxed length of 18 cm (0.18 m). A mass of 23 grams (0.023 kg) is attached and you stretch the spring to a total length of 25 cm (0.25 m). The mass is then released from rest. What is the speed of the mass at the moment...
  15. M

    Spring Potential Energy Problem

    Homework Statement A nonlinear spring is compressed horizontally. The spring exerts a force that obeys the equation F(x) = Ax½, where x is the distance from equilibrium that the spring is compressed and A is a constant. A physics student records data on the force exerted by the spring as it...
  16. K

    Spring Potential Energy involving two springs

    Homework Statement A 10kg mass, attached by means of two springs to the ceiling, is held against the floor and is then released. How fast will it be traveling when it hits the ceiling? The spring constant of each spring is 80 N/m, and each spring has an unstretched length of 1 m. Assume that...
  17. J

    K in Hookes Law vs. Spring Potential Energy

    Today in physics class we were discussing the conservation of energy using a ball on a spring as the example. When the instructor completed the problem one of the students stated that the value of K (spring constant) that we found was different (by a factor of 2) than the value of K calculated...