Most of my physics homework problems have had no problem treating a spring as being able to operate in both compression and tension. However, I now need to find a way to actually implement that for a design project. The general idea is a test bed creating opposing force to test a new actuator. I'd like to put a spring in between the two force creation mechanisms to transfer both compressive and tensile forces, as well as allowing for some slippage in their operation. Looking at most spring manufacturer's catalogs show a distinct separation between compression and tension springs. Some initial research shows that it wouldn't be advisable to try and weld a standard coil spring due to their high carbon content. I'm currently looking at leaf springs as a possible method since the way they're attached to a car easily allows for transmission of both compressive and tensile forces, but I can't find anywhere if they're actually meant to operate under both conditions. Are they? If not, what spring setup is actually able to operate in both compression and tension? tl;dr: How to actually use a spring in both compression and tension?