The influence of material nonlinearity on the behavior of conical disk springs (Belleville springs) is investigated by means of finite element models. Both the load-deflection curve and the stress field of this kind of spring are shown to be significantly affected by the elastic-plastic behavior of the material. In particular, as far as the actual stress field is concerned, consideration of the material nonlinearity explains some apparent contradictions of well-known analytical formulations, such as the Almen-La´szlo´ theory, based on the usual assumption of linear elastic behavior of the material.

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