What is the Hydraulic system and how does it work?
Ever wondered how a Hydraulic System works and what are its components? This blog will help simplify your understanding of a hydraulic system and unearth its functioning!
Hydraulic systems work by using pressurised fluids for high performance in the mechanical functioning of engines. In simple terms, hydraulic systems apply extremely high pressure to power up an engine.
A hydraulic system consists of pumps that push hydraulic fluids through its system by creating fluidic power. What’s neat about this is that you can actually multiply or divide the force that you drive into the system. In fact, the pipe that connects any two cylinders can be of any length and shape. So, in a hydraulic system, all you need to do is change the size of one piston and cylinder relative to the other to increase or decrease the mechanical pressure!
Parts of a Hydraulic System
Hydraulic systems are largely made up of four major components that contain hydraulic fluid, apply hydraulic pressure, and generate energy which is then converted into mechanical energy for use.
The 4 major components of a hydraulic system include:
- The Reservoir
The reservoir is where the liquid is stored. The reservoir also transfers heat into the hydraulic system and helps remove air and moisture from the stored hydraulic fluid.
- The Pump
The pump basically transfers mechanical energy into the system by moving fluid into the reservoir. All pumps work on the same basic principle of moving fluids through high pressure.
- The Valves
Valves in the hydraulic system start and stop the system, giving direction to the movement of the hydraulic fluids. Valves contain spools or poppets which can be actuated through electrical, manual, hydraulic, or mechanical methods.
Actuators use generated hydraulic energy and change it back into mechanical energy. This is done in several ways. The system may have a hydraulic motor to generate rotational motion, or it can be done using a hydraulic cylinder to create linear motion.
Application of Fluids in Hydraulic systems
Fluids transmit energy from one point to another and lubricate the system while also having self-cleaning properties. Hydraulic fluids can be water-based, petroleum-based, or synthetic in nature.
Water-based fluids have less lubrication, are more resistant to fire, and evaporate at high temperatures.
Petrol-based fluids are quite popular nowadays as they can be modified to include rust & oxidation inhibitors, anti-corrosion agents, and more. They are also reasonably priced as well.
Synthetic fluids are useful in high-pressure hydraulic systems. However, they are usually more expensive than normal hydraulic fluids.
Application of a hydraulic system in our day-to-day lives
- Hydraulics are used in the braking system of cars. The braking system uses fluids to transfer pressure onto the braking pad which stops the wheel axis from circulating.
- Hydraulics are also seen in construction equipment to move heavy loads as they can generate a tremendous amount of power.
- Hydraulics are also used in space technology. In the landing gear, hydraulics can help move equipment up into the shuttle body after take-off. Hydraulic systems also serve as backup power generators.
In simple terms, hydraulics is an old technology that works very well and is seen in myriad mechanical systems. Hydraulic systems generate a fair degree of power and are very effective in moving heavy loads.