Knowing the Difference Between Gas Springs, Gas Struts, Gas Shocks & Dampers
Confusion exists regarding dampers, gas struts, gas springs, gas shocks, and many other words used on a somewhat inter-changed basis. These terms in fact do distinguish different products. The fact that these products often look similar externally lends to the confusion. Some basic parameters that apply to all of these products are:
From centre of mounting to centre of mounting point for the product. Typically extended or compressed length specified. (EL in the diagram corresponds to extended length)
The amount of travel available in the product. (S in the diagram)
The device may have one or more diameters specified depending on the configuration. (Dr in the diagram corresponds to rod diameter, and Db correspond to body diameter)
Breakdown of Product Types
Dampers provide no push or pull force; only controls the speed of movement through the stroke. Larger dampers are often referred to as shock absorbers as the high loads are “shocks”.
Applications that use Dampers:
Small flap doors, eliminate “slamming” of door
Gas StrutsLearn More
Gas pressure internal to the strut provides a push or pull force depending on configuration, but also contain a dampening circuit typically to control the speed of motion through one or both directions of travel. Gas struts are often referred to as Gas springs, gas pistons, gas shocks, among other names.
Applications that use Gas Struts:
Bus compartment doors, Airplane overhead bins, Boat/Yacht compartment doors
Nitrogen Gas Springs (Tool & Die)Learn More
These units provide substantially higher forces than struts and traditionally much shorter strokes. Additionally, they do not offer any type of motion control or dampening. Much like a simple mechanical compression spring, when uncompressed the speed is uncontrolled.
Applications that use Tool & Die Gas Springs:
Stamping Press, where plates are separated after compression by the press. High-pressure valves.
Mechanical StrutsLearn More
Unlike gas struts which derive output force from pressure, mechanical struts have mechanical systems internal to generate the push, pull, or self-centering force. They offer increased flexibility in force curves over the stroke. Dampening throughout the stroke is possible to integrate, although standard off the shelf models do not offer this feature.
Applications that use Mechanical Struts:
Medical lab equipment doors, Ground access hatches, Roof access hatches, Off-road equipment hoods & hatches, etc.
The basic differences between the products required for an application are the level of force provided by the product (linear push or pull force) and the level of motion control or dampening available from the same product. The below chart illustrates the approximate spaces offered by the different products.
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