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Shock Absorbers And Its Types

Updated on October 22, 2011

Technically speaking a shock absorber can be defined as any mechanical device that on receiving a shock impulse smooths it out and converts it into kinetic energy. It can either absorb or dissipate the energy.

In general, it is a common device used in automobiles and airplanes to minimize the effect of a shock impulse. It is an important constituent of a vehicles suspension and it allows the vehicle to travel smoothly on a rough ground and on bumpy surfaces and provides a comfortable ride.

Other Applications Of A Shock Absorber

Shock absorbers are used for many purposes and are not only restricted to a car suspension. They are of different shaped and sized for many purposes like:

  • the landing gear of an aircraft
  • in many important industrial machines
  • In buildings and bridges to make them resistant towards earthquake shocks.

Types of Shock Absorbers

Based on their mechanism and usage, there are various types of shock absorbers. Below given are a few types of shock absorbers:

Air Shock Absorbers

The air shock absorber consists of an air chamber, an iron piston and a fluid. Together these work to give an excellent shock absorber that aids the suspension springs of a vehicle. The presence of compressed air in it makes it a stiff shock absorber.

The air shock absorber is a load-adjustable shock absorber as it lessens the burden of any load on the suspension.

In some air shock absorbers, a rubber cylinder is also used to aid the function of the suspension springs.

The air chamber of the shock absorber consists of a valve that can be used to adjust the pressure inside the gas chamber.

Air shock absorber is a commonly used air absorber and it provides a smooth and a comfortable ride of a vehicle. Other than cars, this shock absorber is also used in the engines of high-speed boats.

Damper Shock Absorber

A damper shock absorber consists of a single or two chambers; it may be fluid filled or filled with air. It is commonly used to absorb the shock during the linear motion of a vehicle.

The damper shock has a configuration that can be adjusted and the presence of valves allows the increase or the decrease of the force capacity by letting the gas or the fluid out.

A damper shock absorber is of different types. While choosing a damper for a vehicle few factors must be kept on mind.

Below given is an example of a damper:

  • Mono Tube Shock Absorber

    The mono tube damper consists of single tube with two valves. It is mostly oil filled and used in larger vehicles.

    When the damper compresses when of the valve gets opened and when it extends the other valve gets open and the first one closes. The amount of the fluid released depends on the speed of the bumps it gets while moving.

    If it receives low speed small bumps the larger vents get opened and there is large amount of fluid is released. On the other hand if gets high speed strong bumps the smaller vent gets opened and a small amount of oil is released.

Twin Tube Shock Absorber

The twin tube shock absorber consists of two tubes and valves. One of the two valves has a piston rod and is fitted to the outer tube while the second valve is fitted into the inner tube.

The inner tube is smaller in diameter and handles the bump control of the vehicle and the outer tube which has the piston fitted valve handles the rebound control. 

When the twin tube damper gets a shock through bumps the fluid inside tubes is forced towards the outer reservoir.

The presence of two valves and tubes makes it an effective shock absorber but the only problem with this shock absorber is that it can only work when there is a limited space to work in.

Spring Shock Absorber

The spring shock absorber uses the effect of a spring to absorb the shocks.

The tighter the spring coil will be the stiffer the shock absorber will be.

The spring shock absorber is fluid filled and the centre of the shock absorber consists of a rebound unit.


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    • profile image

      adam white 

      2 years ago


    • profile image

      Good wisher 

      3 years ago

      Keep it up...

    • profile image

      maanasa vasan 

      7 years ago

      hai good job........

      keep it up......

      but you haven't explained about the advantages and disadvantages using a sspring shock absorber to a normal shock absorber.


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