Q Has the single-leaf spring any advantage over the multi-leaf type apart from its relatively low weight?
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A It may be argued that a multi-leaf spring
has the advantage over a single-leaf type that inter-leaf friction tends to damp the movement of the wheels in the same way as a shock absorber does. In practice, however, inter-leaf friction is a variable that depends on the condition of the leaf surfaces, the friction properties of which are affected by the presence of dirt, rust, oil and so on.
Because the deflections of a single-leaf spring are not damped by internal friction, fitting shock absorbers to an axle having singleleaf suspension may be more important than would be the case if the springs were of the multi-leaf type. But the absence of friction enables shock absorbers to be applied to the axle more efficiently, the degree of damping provided being entirely a function of shock absorber characteristics. The shock absorbers can, therefore, be more accurately matched to the suspension to give more consistent damping over an extended period.