Design Engineering

The difference between disc springs and Belleville washers

By Nicholas Bunt   

General Machine Building
Sponsored by SPIROL International Corporation

While similar in appearance, the two types of spring washers suit different applications.

Disc Springs and Belleville Washers are both conically-shaped spring washers typically made from spring steels and designed to be loaded axially. Both can provide a higher degree of force in a relatively compact area as compared to coil springs or wave springs.

While the terms “Disc Springs” and “Belleville Washers” are often used interchangeably, there are some technical, design and application differences between the two products:


Belleville Washers are primarily used in heavy duty applications fastened together with a bolt where the load is considered static. Disc Springs can be statically loaded either continuously or intermittently, or dynamically subjected to continuous load cycling. Unlike Belleville Washers, Disc Springs are designed specifically to provide a repeatable force-travel relationship and have a long and predictable fatigue life in dynamic or cycling applications.

Disc Springs are commonly found in a variety of applications including pressure controls and regulators, vehicle braking systems, valves, shock absorbers, clutches, friction assemblies, and joints where thermal / weight cycling occurs. Disc Springs can be used as a single piece, or combined together into different configurations in stacks to achieve the desired force-deflection performance.

A defined list of standard Disc Spring sizes and associated load and deflection characteristics is available in DIN EN 16983 (formerly DIN 2093).

Selecting the most appropriate Disc Spring or Disc Stack configuration can be challenging. It is recommended that designers partner with experts in Disc Spring Application Engineering to determine the optimum Disc Spring for a particular application.

For information about fatigue life of Disc Springs, read the SPIROL White Paper: How to Calculate the Estimated Fatigue Life of Disc Springs

View SPIROL’s Disc Spring Design Guide for specifications and helpful tips for design engineers, or download 2D/3D drawings for your assembly at

Contact SPIROL today!

Nicholas Bunt is a product specialist with SPIROL International Corporation


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