You probably learned what a trapezoid is in grade school, but it’s likely been a very long time since you thought about it, unless you’re an engineer. In that case, you were probably more interested in learning Algebra, not Geometry. Either way, here’s a reminder: unlike squares and rectangles, where every side is parallel to its opposite side, a trapezoid only has two parallel sides, as shown:

Like most kids, you probably thought learning about trapezoids was a waste of time. You’d never have any use for this information after graduation, right? Wrong! If you’re working in the spring industry or with shaped wire, you do. Trapezoid, or keystone-shaped wire is one of the most common shapes used in spring manufacturing because it offers increased strength and flexibility when compared to other alternatives.

The keystone shape offers greater resistance to buckling when compressed. This means that the spring can better withstand heavy loads without bending and losing its shape, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.

Keystone shaped wire allows spring makers to coil wire evenly by compensating for distortion. This basically stretches the outer, or thicker area, of a trapezoidal wire to equal the dimension of the inner portion on the spring while coiling. Each keystone shaped wire has its own unique custom configurations. Radcliff Wire works with their customers to meet their specific keystone shaped wire requirements.

Springs made from keystone-shaped wire offer several advantages over other types of springs. Their shape allows them to absorb shock more efficiently, making them ideal for applications where vibrations or impacts are likely to occur. They also can have a higher tensile strength than most other shapes, and can be formed into tight curves, making them ideal for applications where a smaller footprint is needed, such as robotics and medical instruments.

Additionally, their unique shape allows them to apply more precise forces over small distances while maintaining their shape and strength. This is why they’re often used in various types of actuators, as push-pull or linear devices.

Overall, keystone-shaped wire is incredibly useful and versatile for manufacturing springs. It’s become one of the most popular shapes used in spring manufacturing, and it’s likely to remain a popular choice for many years to come. Contact Us if you have a need for keystone-shaped wire. Not sure? We can help you determine what would be best for your project.