Have you ever found yourself trying to lift the trunk lid of your car with only one finger? Why is it that you can lift a heavy-duty piece of glass and metal with such a small amount of force? It’s quite simple; the answer lies in those brilliant hinges that support the lid on both sides. These clever objects are gas springs and they make our lives easier in several ways.
Why do we need gas springs?
Imagine if there were no springs at all on your vehicle’s trunk lid. Now, there would be absolutely nothing that was holding it up in the air when you wanted to load in your shopping , etc.
When you did let go of the lid, it would just fall straight down on your car. You could put an average spring on the lid; however, it would require a real heavy spring; thus, it would take a massive amount of energy to lift the trunk lid up into the air.
The higher you lifted the lid, the harder it would get to lift any further. Gas springs provide support for safe positioning, lowering, lifting and counterbalancing weights.
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How a gas spring works
A gas spring is like a heavy-duty form of a bicycle pump, but it’s filled with oil and pressurised nitrogen gas and its sealed.
The oil damps the movement of the piston and provides lubrication, and the gas allows for the spring to store energy.
When you put pressure on a gas spring, you are putting force on the piston rod and the piston into the cylinder, and this action compresses the gas.
When you stop putting pressure on it and release it, the pressure pushes the piston back out. Sounds like a bicycle pump, right? Not quite!
Different from a bicycle pump, the gas inside the cylinder can flow around or through the piston from one side to the other as it moves. In the event that the piston moves through the gas, you may think that it isn’t compressing the gas. But remember that the entire cylinder is 100% sealed.
The pressure from the gas is generally very high, usually up to 170 times the normal atmospheric pressure!
One thing about gas springs is that they work smoothly and slowly. The end of the piston is designed so the fluid inside the cylinder can flow through or around it very slowly.