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Newsletter - January 2017

Upcoming meeting

The 662nd SASRE General Meeting will be held at the Fhata Lushaka Boardroom, Koedoespoort Workshops, on Thursday, 26th January 2017 at 17h00. Emma Molobi, Senior Metallurgical Engineer at Transnet Engineering will present a paper entitled: ‘Premature Failure of Helical Compression Springs.’


Helical compression springs are used in vehicle suspension due to their elastic nature when subjected to an external load and their ability to sustain repeated deformation. Upon deformation, springs absorb and store the produced energy, returning to their original shape when the load is removed, provided the external load does not exceed the elastic limit. The loading of a helical compression springs follows Hooke’s law. Helical compression springs are used in the vehicle suspension of automobiles, aerospace, and railway locomotive to name a few. The failure of helical compression springs has detrimental effect on other components, as vibrational forces and lateral/vertical displacements may occur, imbalanced automobiles and a decrease in the lifecycle of other components such as axles and bearings. This present work aims to investigate the cause for failure of helical compression springs used in suspension systems. The investigation will be carried out by conducting visual examination, microstructural analysis, hardness measurements, chemical analysis, a detailed scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation on the fracture surface and FEA (finite element analysis).

Yours in Railway Engineering,

Sizwe Nkosi, Secretary

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