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What causes gas spring wear?

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Gas spring wear out due to several factors related to both their design and operational conditions. The primary mechanism through which gas springs wear out involves the degradation of internal components, especially the seals, and the gradual loss of the gas that provides the spring action. Here's a more detailed explanation:

Seals Deterioration

The seals within a gas spring maintain the internal pressure by preventing the escape of the gas. Over time, these seals can deteriorate due to:

  • Repeated Cycles: Constant compression and extension can wear down the seal material.
  • Chemical Breakdown: Exposure to harsh chemicals or extreme environments can degrade seal materials.
  • Age: Rubber and other seal materials naturally degrade over time, even without mechanical stress.

Gas Loss

As the seals wear down, gas starts to leak from the interior of the spring. This gas is what creates the pressure needed for the spring to function properly. Loss of gas results in:

  • Reduced Force: As the internal pressure decreases due to gas leakage, the force exerted by the spring when extended or compressed diminishes.
  • Inconsistency: The performance of the gas spring becomes more inconsistent as the amount of gas (and thus, the internal pressure) fluctuates due to leaks.

Lubrication Loss

Gas springs contain a small amount of oil for lubrication, ensuring smooth operation. A loss of this lubrication due to seal wear or leakage can lead to:

  • Increased Friction: Without adequate lubrication, the internal components can wear out more quickly due to increased friction.
  • Operation Noise: Lack of lubrication can also result in noisier operation.

Physical Damage

Gas springs can also wear out due to physical damage to their components, such as the rod, cylinder, or end fittings. This damage can occur due to:

  • Impact: A strong impact might bend or damage parts of the gas spring.
  • Corrosion: Exposure to corrosive environments can weaken and damage the structural integrity of the spring.

Mitigation

While wear and degradation are inevitable over the lifespan of a gas spring, regular inspection, proper usage within specified limits, and choosing the right gas spring for the specific application can extend its life.

Overall, the wear of gas springs is a slow process, and they are designed to last for many thousands of cycles. However, when they do begin to wear out, it's usually best to replace them, as rebuilding or repairing them is often not cost-effective or practical.

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