Music wire is a highly versatile type of wire, however as the name implies, it is best known for only one of its uses. It is made from high carbon steel, making it ideal for high-stress applications such as piano strings. In this particular application, the wire is stretched to an extreme amount of tension and it is continuously struck by hammers to create the piano’s sound. This example provides a great illustration of the strength of music wire.
In addition to its high and consistent tensile strength, music wire is also able to handle severe bends. These characteristics make this type of wire a widely used choice for coiled springs. Another advantage music wire offers is its cost, which is comparable to the lower quality carbon steels, especially when the wire diameter is small and the quantity needed is low.
For all of its advantages, there are some drawbacks to using music wire:
Lack of corrosion resistance – application of a protective coating such as zinc plating is an option however it will just slow the corrosion.
Inability to withstand high temperatures – For high temperatures above 250 degrees F, 302 stainless steel is a better option.
Loss of high tensile strength as the wire diameter increases – In most cases spring designers will recommend oil temper at these large wire diameters.
Not cost effective in low stress and large quantity applications – Hard drawn carbon steel is a better choice for large production needs and low stress applications.
When you need springs, it is best to speak with an experienced spring manufacturer that can help you determine which type of spring and which material will provide you with the best application fit and performance. If you are not sure whether or not music wire springs are the best choice for your application, contact us to speak with one of our spring experts.