# Variable K elastic constant ?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

"Variable" K elastic constant ??

Difficult to put the topics on the right place...

Is there any spring (or any physical method) that could have different K elastic constant on one sense of movement than on the other?

For example K = 100 (or another value) when compressing and K = 75 (or another value) when decompressing?

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I think that the simpler spring with variable K elastic constant could be made from rubber.
When you stretch this rubber spring the elastic constant would take a value K (the value of K depends on who hard is the rubber).
On the other hand during the compression of the spring the value of the elastic constant is K=0.
I’m not sure if practically a rubber spring could work but theoretically it is possible.

russ_watters
Mentor
Sorta - if you throw in viscosity or plastic deformation or something like that. If you're hoping to use that to overcome the first law of thermodynamics though, no.

Almost any polymer (and some other materials) will have a different (and variable) K in tension from that in compression (except for small strains). Under tension, the polymer chains straighten out and stiffen - under compression they tend to buckle and are less stiff. The effect is called 'tension stiffening'.

Reinforced concrete does something similar - as do most fabrics (wool, cotton, etc)