What started almost a century ago as buffer between railway cars has now become a universally applicable damping element for almost all industry sectors – also as a protective element against potential damages to buildings and industrial facilities caused by earthquakes.
The 9th International STESSA Conference on the Behaviour of Steel Structures in Seismic Areas took place from February 17 to 19 in Christchurch (New Zealand). This conference, which is triennially held, is organized by the Steel Construction New Zealand Incorporated (SCNZ) in cooperation with the University of Auckland, the University of Canterbury and the University of Naples. Like the previous STESSA Conferences, the University of Canterbury was selected to host this event.
If buildings are shaken by earthquakes this can lead to cracks, instabilities in the support structure and in worst case szenarios to the collapse of the building. To efficiently absorb the enormous forces and thereby protect both, person and material, nowadays sophisticated technologies are available.
Not all damages that a great earthquake will cause can be avoided. However, with Friction Springs there is a very high probability, that the building withstands an earthquake – like those in Christchurch/NZ in 2010 and 2011 – and is still operational and habitable.
In a previous article we covered friction springs and their applications. This time we would like to explain the technical properties of a friction spring, how it works and why its features provide a variety of advantages compared to other damping systems.
Friction springs are indispensible safety components in all fields of technology where suddenly occurring forces have to be taken up and kinetic energy absorbed, or where springs are required with relatively compact dimensions while also being able to sustain high forces. Expert friction springs are needed when it comes to the deceleration of moving masses in a quick, safe and precise manner.
As you probably know, compact friction springs improve damping performance and give off high kinetic energy in a wide range of mechanical systems. Wabtec Corporation experienced this first-hand when they used our friction springs in their mechanical couplers for trains.