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, in geology
spring, in geology, natural flow of water from the ground or from rocks, representing an outlet for the water that has accumulated in permeable rock strata underground. Some of the water that falls as rain soaks into the soil and is drawn downward by gravity to a depth where all openings and pore spaces in the rock or soil have become completely saturated with water. This region is called the zone of saturation, and the water it holds, groundwater. The upper surface of the zone of saturation is called the water table. Above the water table lies the zone of aeration, where the pore spaces in the soil are quite dry and are filled with air. When the upper surface of the groundwater (water table) intersects a sloping land surface, a spring appears. The occurrence of springs is closely related to the geology of an area. If an impervious layer of rock, such as a clay deposit, underlies a layer of saturated soil or rock, then a line of springs will tend to appear on a slope where the clay layer outcrops. Igneous rocks are also impervious to water, yet they are often extensively fractured, and springs commonly appear where these fractures come to the surface. Fractures in limestone are often enlarged by the dissolving action of groundwater, forming small underground channels and caves. Where these channels outcrop, springs are likely to be found. Springs are common along major faults because groundwater reaches the surface along the fault plane. Lines of springs help locate the position of faults such as the San Andreas of California. Springs can be a valuable water resource, and improvement in flow can often be accomplished simply by driving a pipe into the ground at the point where water seeps from the ground. Sometimes it is advisable to divert the spring water into a cistern or other storage reservoir from which the water can be pumped at will. When the water, because of the geological structure of the strata, issues under pressure, the spring is called artesian (see artesian well). Another type of spring is the geyser. Hot springs occur when the water issues from great depths or is heated by near-surface hot volcanic rock, as in Yellowstone National Park, Iceland, and New Zealand. Mineral springs are those with a high mineral content, usually silica or lime, dissolved from the rocks through which the water has passed (see mineral water). Many ancient city-states, such as Troy, had their sites determined by springs. Pioneer farmhouses often were located in the same way.


, in mechanics
spring, in mechanics, any of several elastic devices used variously to store and to furnish energy, to absorb shock, to sustain the pressure between contacting surfaces, and to resist tensional or compressional stress. Springs are made of an elastic material, e.g., specially formulated steel alloys or certain types of rubber or plastic. A torsion spring that stores energy, e.g., for operating a watch, is a metal strip wound spirally around a fixed center. For reducing concussion in some heavy trucks and railroad cars, helical, or coil, springs are used. Coil springs are commonly used for the same purpose in automobiles, as are leaf springs that consist of flat bars clamped together. These have been replaced in some vehicles by torsion bars that absorb stresses by twisting. The helical-coil compression spring provides the force to keep the operating surfaces together in the friction clutch (see transmission). The extension spring is employed for the spring balance; the distance through which it is extended depends on the weight suspended from it. The disk spring, which consists of a laminated series of convex disks, is widely employed for heavy loads.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an elastic element used to absorb shocks and vibration, supply motive power, and store mechanical energy.

Springs are distinguished on the basis of the following: (1) the type of load accepted, for example, tension, compression, torsion, or deflection springs, (2) the nature of the action of the load, for example, static action, limited short action, or repeated pulsating action, (3) the type of design, for example, coil or helical (primarily cylindrical and conical), spiral, flat, disk, and ring designs, and (4) the characteristics of the spring, for example, whether it has a uniform or variable rigidity.

Springs are manufactured on spring-coiling machines or by hand on mandrels and are usually made of spring steel or bronze for use in corrosive mediums.


Detali mashin: Raschet i konstruirovanie: Spravochnik, 3rd ed., vol. 2. Edited by N. S. Acherkan. Moscow, 1968.



a type of shock-absorbing, elastic device, used in vehicle suspensions, for instance, in motor vehicles, railroad cars, and locomotives. Springs transmit the load from the body to the bogies, wheels, crawler treads, skis, or runners and soften bumps and jolts when traversing irregularities in the road. There are metal, hydraulic, and pneumatic springs.

Figure 1. Leaf spring for the rear axle of a motor vehicle: (1) leaf, (2) clamp, (3) hanger

Metal springs are the most common type; they are classified as leaf springs, torsion bars, and coil springs. A leaf spring (Figure 1) consists of a stack of tempered steel leaves of varying length connected by clamps. The clamps rest on the running gear chassis components of the vehicle and prevent relative lateral displacement of the leaves. The free ends of the leaves are hinged to the body through shackles, lugs, or special hangers. A leaf spring works as a flexible beam upon bending. The leaves are given a bent form to reduce the working stresses. A coil spring has one or several coils (helical, spiral, parabolic, or disk-shaped) arranged one within the other or one over another. Coil springs are often used in conjunction with leaf springs, for example, on railroad cars (Figure 2). Coil springs are the most sensitive to changes in load; leaf springs are best for damping vibrations, thus providing a smoother ride.

Figure 2. Combination suspension for railroad rolling stock

In hydraulic springs, a fluid flows from one chamber of a cylinder to another through grooved passages. In pneumatic springs, the elastic properties of air or a gas may be used.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about spring?

Spring symbolizes new tasks and creative endeavors.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


The period extending from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice; comprises the transition period from winter to summer.
To enlarge the bottom of a drill hole by small charges of a high explosive in order to make room for the full charge; to chamber a drill hole.
A general name for any discharge of deep-seated, hot or cold, pure or mineralized water.
(mechanical engineering)
An elastic, stressed, stored-energy machine element that, when released, will recover its basic form or position. Also known as mechanical spring.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Spring (machines)

A machine element for storing energy as a function of displacement. Force applied to a spring member causes it to deflect through a certain displacement, thus absorbing energy.

A spring may have any shape and may be made from any elastic material. Even fluids can behave as compression springs and do so in fluid pressure systems. Most mechanical springs take on specific and familiar shapes such as helix, flat, or leaf springs. All mechanical elements behave to some extent as springs because of the elastic properties of engineering materials.

The most frequent use of springs is to supply motive power in a mechanism. Common examples are clock and watch springs, toy motors, and valve springs in auto engines. A special case of the spring as a source of motive power is its use for returning displaced mechanisms to their original positions, as in the door-closing device, the spring on the cam follower for an open cam, and the spring as a counterbalance. Frequently a spring in the form of a block of very elastic material such as rubber absorbs shock in a mechanism. Springs also serve an important function in vibration control.

Springs may be classified into six major types according to their shape. These are flat or leaf, helical, spiral, torsion bar, disk, and constant force springs. A leaf spring is a beam of cantilever design with a deliberately large deflection under a load. The helical spring consists essentially of a bar or wire or uniform cross section wound into a helix. In a spiral spring, the spring bar or wire is wound in an Archimedes spiral in a plane. A spiral spring is unique in that it may be deflected in one of two ways or a combination of both of them (see illustration). A torsion bar spring consists essentially of a shaft or bar of uniform section. The disk spring consists essentially of a disk or washer supported at the outer periphery by one force and an opposing force on the center or hub of the disk. A constant force spring is used when a constant force must be applied regardless of displacement.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. An elastic body or device (such as a spirally wound metal coil) which stores mechanical energy when it is compressed and imparts this energy when it recovers its shape.
2.See springing.
3.See crook, 1.

springing, spring

1. The point where an arch rises from its supports.
2. The angle of rise of an arch.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


goddess of this season. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 130]
represent this season. [Art: Hall, 129]
garlanded girl
personification of spring. [Art: Hall, 130]
peep frogs
their voices welcome the season. [Am. Culture: Misc.]
personification of spring. [Gk. Myth.: Cirlot, 252]
harbinger of spring. [Western Culture: Misc.]
harbinger of the spring season. [Animal Symbolism: Mercatante, 164]
turtle doves
“voice of the turtle is heard.” [O.T.: Song of Songs 2:12]
goddess of this season. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 130]
personification; portrayed as infantile and tender. [Rom. Myth.: LLEI, I: 322]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a. a natural outflow of ground water, as forming the source of a stream
b. (as modifier): spring water
a. a device, such as a coil or strip of steel, that stores potential energy when it is compressed, stretched, or bent and releases it when the restraining force is removed
b. (as modifier): a spring mattress
a. the season of the year between winter and summer, astronomically from the March equinox to the June solstice in the N hemisphere and from the September equinox to the December solstice in the S hemisphere
b. (as modifier): spring showers
4. one of a set of strips of rubber, steel, etc., running down the inside of the handle of a cricket bat, hockey stick, etc.
5. Nautical a mooring line, usually one of a pair that cross amidships
6. a flock of teal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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