As technology advances, computers and microprocessors are becoming commonplace in many industrial applications today. However, no matter how far technology goes, it still must rely on basic principles like hydraulics. In fact, something as seemingly workaday or common as the hydraulic cylinder is a big component of many technologies and is part of the power turning the wheels of industry in the 21st Century. Let’s take a closer look at hydraulics and why it so important.
All through time, fluid like water has been used to power many things. In fact, water power made it possible for the ancient Egyptians to utilize the Nile River to create a sophisticated civilization and water mills are nothing new.
Piston pumps and water clocks were used as far back as ancient Greece. Over the years, more interest was generated in the mathematics of water power. In the 17th Century, French mathematician Blaise Pascal made some important discoveries.
When you apply pressure to any section of fluid within a confined space this pressure is equally transmitted through the fluid (without loss of pressure). In other words, the pressure is applied with equal force to both confining and perpendicular walls of a fluid container (hydraulic cylinder). This is known as Pascal’s Law and it is the fundamental principle of hydraulics.
A hydraulic system can be simple or complex but they all operate under the principle of Pascal’s Law. Here is what a basic hydraulic system contains:
* Hydraulic fluid
* Reservoir for fluid
* Hydraulic cylinder – contains a piston inside of a cylinder and this is how force is applied to the fluid.
* Lines or hoses for fluid
* Control mechanism
Example of a Hydraulic System
On a typical hydraulic car brake system, manual pressure is applied to a brake pedal (from your foot) which in turn pushes in the piston of the hydraulic master cylinder, exerting force on the hydraulic fluid. The fluid is then pressurized through metal brake lines and this same force is applied to hydraulic brake calipers. This force clamps the brake pads onto the spinning brake disc, bringing the wheels of the vehicle to a stop. In this setup, you have a hydraulic cylinder sending pressure to four additional hydraulic cylinders.
Today, hydraulics has come a long ways and is used in a number of applications. For example:
* Oil and gas industry
* Marine applications
Precision Hydraulic Cylinders (PHC) is a trusted producer of high quality and competitively priced hydraulic cylinder products. Visit them online at phc-global.com to see what they can do for your business.
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