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Non-linear Spring Constants

  1. Sep 29, 2004 #1
    The energy of a spring is the work done on the spring, and for a simple spring with F=-kx the energy may be changed by changing the constant k.

    In the non-linear case eg F = kx - 4qx^3 we would take the integral to obtain energy. But the question I thought was trivial was, "what values of k and q would be needed to cause a change in the energy of the spring?" Won't any change in either k or q change the energy? Which in any case makes it a rhetorical question?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2004 #2


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    Yes, it does. Changing either will cause the energy stored for a given 'x' to change.

    Of course, the only easy way to change the material constants is to change the material itself. And then you may no longer have the same kind of non-linearity. You could also change the material constants some by heat treatment, but only in certain cases.
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