When people think of steel, they often think of skyscrapers and tanks. But steel is also used in cars. In fact, it’s one of the most important materials used to make leaf springs.
However, leaf springs are made from steel that is stronger than steel you might expect. The reason for this is that steel has a higher yield strength than other metals.
Now you might be wondering about what kind of steel are leaf springs made of that makes cars bounce. Well, stick to our article till the end to find out your answer.
Nevertheless, we’ll go through some of the basic information about leaf springs and then get to know about the key steel material. Let’s dig it out.
What is A Leaf Spring?
A leaf spring is a simple form of spring that is used by wheeled vehicles in suspension. Originally known as a laminated or carriage spring, also written as an elliptical spring, semi-elliptical spring, or cart spring.
Although leaf springs are one of the oldest types of springs used for lifting, they remained standard equipment on carriages in France in the late 17th century, where they used two L-shaped springs linked together to form the leaf spring.
The leaf spring typically has a slender arc-shaped pattern of spring steel of rectangular cross-section, with the center of the arc providing a place for the axle, and loops at either end providing a place to attach it to the vehicle chassis.
What Are Leaf Springs Used For?
Leaf springs are an integral component of your vehicle’s suspension system. They’re situated in the back of the engine to help keep the entire weight of the automobile along with the tires lined up with the road when it is moving quickly or sluggishly.
In addition, leaf springs also keep the tire grip on the road and maintain its new dimensions whilst also accelerating or decelerating the vehicle.
Due to their many benefits, leaf springs are in demand right now. One-way leaf springs are only one of the contributions they’ve made to our global transportation system. Today, leaf springs are more commonly mounted on heavy-duty vehicles like SUVs, trucks, and vans.
How Do Leaf Springs Work?
Generally, the ends of the leaf springs are connected to the vehicle’s sub-chassis, and the axle is then connected to the spring in that way. The end of the spring is looped or rolled around to form a pupil.
Rubber tubes are installed in the eye of the spring and release noise and vibration. A center bolt, also known as a centering pin, holds the leaves together.
One end of a leaf spring is attached to the side of a frame with a bolt and rubber bushings at the end. Another end of the leaf spring is attached to the side of a frame with movable mounting hangers called shackles.
Shackles prevent one’s backward motion after the springtime tips over. Since the spring becomes thinner and longer, the shackle becomes more curved and straighter.
Spring alignment clips, or rebound clips, prevent leaves from spinning away when the spring bounces over an obstacle or rises on the road.
What Kind Of Steel Are Leaf Springs Made Of?
Too much duty and complexity related to that component right? And yes, to handle all complexity and tough jobs, leaf springs need to be made of the hardest steel possible. So, what type of steel are leaf springs made of?
Traditionally, high-strength steel containing as little as 0.5-0.9% carbon has been used for leaf spring applications on account of its high ductility and ability. Furthermore, this type of steel is sturdy and is quite resistant to shocking insults.
For the majority of leaf springs, the Alloy Steel 5160 is widely used across. The carbon concentration in 5160 steel is 0.6%, making it a moderate to high carbon content steel.
With great tensile strength, 5160 steel is commonly used in situations requiring thinner cross-sections under extreme stress, such as springs, fasteners, and leaf springs in vehicle suspensions.
Related: Car Bouncing Up and Down “Why?” Explanation
What Are The Physical Properties of 5160 Steel Alloy?
It is essential to understand the naming system used for different metals, as this might reveal deeply the exact composition of the metal and alloy.
Similar to aluminum, steel is identified by a handy four-digit identifier. However, unlike other metals like aluminum, every number within our steel alloy name contains information about the percentage of carbon associated with it in addition to its alloying materials.
The first digit of the alloy classification refers to the class of steel alloys. For 5160 aluminum, 5 represents steel alloys that predominate with significant chromium content.
The second figure represents the proportion of the amount of the aforementioned alloying element; therefore, 5160 steel is considered 1% chromium by mass.
The last two numerical digits specify a specific percentage of carbon, indicating that the alloy has 0.XX% carbon. As we mentioned earlier, 5160 steel alloy contains 0.6% carbon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a leaf spring high carbon steel?
Generally, leaf springs are made of 5160 steel alloy, which is considered medium to high carbon steel.
Can you make a knife out of a leaf spring?
Making a blade from steel in the leaf spring genre is possible. You can be sure that steel using leaf springs as its core is known for its durable qualities and high carbon count. If you need to craft a knife that has used a leaf spring as a core, don’t be surprised if it cracks.
Can you weld leaf spring steel?
If you’re welding a broken leaf spring, you should not heat it up to as many degrees as necessary as you would for one not fractured. Therefore, the welding process is more likely to create further damage to the spring than it would for a safe one.
So, you might have got an idea about what kind of steel are leaf springs made of. Even though different materials are also being examined for use in leaf springs, high carbon steel like the AISI 5160 steel alloy is still the most popular material. This is because Leaf springs often need to tackle the toughest conditions.