If you're reading this, the chances are that you probably know what spring steel is used for in a general sense. In case you don't, we'll be sure to cover some of the basics with you before we get into some of the more unorthodox ways that it's used by people across the globe.
Spring steel is considered a general use steel because of its ability to be durable, yet pliable with a high degree of strength. It has the unique ability to be formed, shaped, and post heat treated, which makes it one of the premium choices for manufacturing materials. Any time a material is strong and easy to work with, there's no doubt that it will be a popular material.
Qualifying as a general use material, however, doesn't disqualify you from having a few surprises in store for anyone who's looking for something a little different. Even though most people working with spring steel are using it for conventional applications, here are a few uses you may not have heard of.
You may have heard a distinction when researching different types of steel for your project. 1075 steel from Mead gets spheroidized to increase its formability. If you're looking for a metal with a medium carbon content, 1075 steel may be perfect for your needs.
1095 steel uses a high carbon content to deliver the greatest fatigue values and elasticity of any of Mead's available spring steels. Mead's 1095 steel allows you to get great durability while still maintaining the strength that should be expected from any steel product.
If you've ever heard a symphony that moved you or have gone on a long road trip with nothing but oldies to get you through, then you probably have spring steel to thank. This type of metal is used in music wire which is most commonly found in pianos. Musicians use spring steel in pianos because piano wire needs to be pulled extremely taught, but still hold up when the hammer of the keys is pounding on it. Because of its pliability and strength, it's been used in pianos from every famous artist from Beethoven to Elton John.
This is arguably one of the best uses for spring steel. Your iTunes library and Spotify playlists just wouldn't be the same without pianos utilizing spring steel. But it doesn't stop at the piano, spring steel can be found in guitar strings too, meaning that without this amazing material, Hendrix and Van Halen would have been limited to the clarinet or the kazoo.
Knights from the medieval era are known to have spent quite a lot of coin on suits of armor made from spring steel. Though the material was harder to work with and shape into armor and swords for fighters during the dark ages, the best men of the realm preferred the material. Fighters could have suits of armor made that were up to 30 percent lighter than their opponents with the same degree of protection. In combat, being quick on your feet can make a deadly difference.
Though there aren't as many sieges today as there were during that period, suits of armor and swords are still being made. Not only is there a large population of collectors and enthusiasts for armor, but armor made with this steel is also primarily used in movies and TV. If you've watched Game of Thrones or any other fantasy/medieval series or movie, almost all of the suits of armor contained within were made from spring steel. Some suits are made from foam, but it's easy to tell if something's fake close up. When the camera pulls in for those close shots, actors are often wearing suits of plate armor and wielding weapons made from the same spring steel that was so expensive in the days of old.
Armor and swords are still made with spring steel because it's light enough for an actor to move freely while still looking authentic. It's also significantly easier to swing a sword made of spring steel than one made from iron or other heavy metals. The best part is, the armor and weapons you see on the big screen are completely authentic to the ones that tournament winners wore to win a joust or even a melee.
Spring steel is also used in a whole range of products that you may not have realized. More surprising uses for spring steel include: antennas, lock picks, aircraft landing gear, knives, and even binder clips. Any time you need a workable material but can't afford to sacrifice durability, you can probably assume that the manufacturer is using spring steel.
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