Spring materials are purchased under specifications which impose limits on the tensile strength but do not control the crucial properties, i.e., resistance to plastic flow and stiffness. Present techniques for characterizing spring material are discussed in detail. A novel test is described which is quick, inexpensive, and reliable and holds promise for both research and quality control applications. The test is based on a dynamic determination of energy dissipation in a sample stressed in bending or torsion, the usual modes of deformation for most springs. Stiffness and permissible deformations are determined directly and the elastic modulus and yield strength can be calculated easily. The results obtained in this way compare favorably with those determined by tensile testing. An example is given which illustrates the operation of the test and the calculation of results. Since the entire test from sample preparation to calculation of results requires about five minutes, and since the apparatus should be relatively inexpensive, the test ought to find application in many areas where testing is not practical at the present time.

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