In a particular nuclear application, separation between two concentric tubes is supported by helical springs installed in the annular space. Evaluation of material degradation due to the unique operating environment requires testing of ex-service spring material. Testing is done by compressing short segments of the spring material between two surfaces as per the loading mode in operation. Nominally, the specimen behaves like multiple rings loaded uniformly in parallel, but analysis of test results based on this approximation neglects significant end effects.
A detailed analysis addresses the transition from the free end boundary condition through to where the coils become confined by friction to behave like rings. The thin ring solution is compared with finite element results as well as test results. Trends from the detailed thin ring solution correspond closely to the finite element and test results. A more precise relationship between the total applied load and the maximum stress in the material is determined.