Aerial Spirals: Don’t let your life spiral out of control

Aerial spiral seems to be all the rage now and I bet you want to join in on the newest trend! We get asked for an aerial spiral every day. So we commissioned our amazing engineers at Jade Engineering to complete a preliminary analysis on making the aerial spiral apparatus. 

So what did we find out? You are not going to like what’s coming… 

Using the best available materials in Australia and keeping in mind the usability of the apparatus (weight, thickness of the bar, number of joints, rigging point, etc) we found out that the aerial spiral deforms at a surprisingly low load. This means that it cannot be manufactured as a certified apparatus. As we had already suspected, the spiral is not a strong shape and it deforms at very low loads. 

Here are the details from the commissioned analysis (stainless steel tube 38.1mm with a wall thickness of 2.11mm) :

The deflection experienced by the spiral is high, even at relatively small loads, and even under its own weight. The table below shows how much the apparatus will elongate under applied different loads. 

Weight/Load applied Deflection / Elongation
Apparatus only 12cm
Apparatus + 60kg load 40cm
Apparatus + 84kg load 1m

As you can see the distortion is significant and will occur at loads much lower that what we expect people to apply. Here is a pictograph showing the distortion at 1m:

Our engineers also performed an analysis on one of the existing spirals available on the overseas market.* We gathered the information from the manufacturer’s online shop. This spiral in fact distorts at even lower loads (see table below).

Weight/Load applied Deflection / Elongation
Apparatus only 18cm
Apparatus + 35kg load 40cm
Apparatus + 60kg load 60cm
Apparatus + 81kg load 1m

To sum it up: just like a slinky: a spiral will stretch even under its own weight.

So how come you see people all over social media using them without falling on their heads? This is a complicated question, but let us try to explain it in the simplest way that we can… Just because the apparatus doesn’t fail the moment you put weight on it, still doesn’t mean it is safe to use. The elongation can (and will) happen gradually over time. It is possible that the spiral will simply just keep stretching until you run out of height in your studio (that is the best case scenario). However, we also do not know and cannot tell what the deformation is going to do to the integrity and strength of the material.

Moreover, overseas markets have different regulations and standards around manufacturing for human loading than we have here in Australia. Our regulations and standards are high, and we should be thankful for that! Meeting those standards means that we keep you safe in the air.

Sadly, the spiral shape is not deemed safe for human loading. 

*We have not done an analysis on all spirals available overseas, only one (stainless steel tube with dimensions 33.7mm and wall thickness of 3mm). 
By |2023-08-01T15:05:54+10:00August 1st, 2023|Rodleigh's Blog|Comments Off on Aerial Spirals: Don’t let your life spiral out of control

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