How Does a Hydraulic System Work?

by Ted Marten

Function

A hydraulic system is used in machines that need fluid power to make them work. The fluid power used for these machines is a high-pressured liquid, called hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid is transmitted through the entire machine and will reach the different hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic motors in the machine. There are control valves that have complete control over the fluid and will automatically distribute it through the machine's tubes and hoses. The advantage of using a hydraulic machine is that it can produce large amounts of power that is transferred into the machines tubes and hoses. All this power is used in the actuators, which is the mechanical device that is used for controlling and moving a particular mechanism.

Process

A hydraulic system works because the force that is applied at a point is transmitted to a second point by using an incompressible fluid. Two pistons are positioned into two glass cylinders that are filled with oil. An oil-filled pipe connects them to one another. The pipe can be any shape or length--all it needs to do is separate the two pistons. Sometimes the pipe will look like a fork in the hydraulic system, so a master cylinder can have the ability to drive more than one slave if needed. First, one of the pistons experience a downward force then that force is transmitted to the next piston using the oil in the pipe. This makes the hydraulic system work efficiently, because the oil is incompressible. Then the all of the force is applied on the second piston, and it happens all over again.

Benefits

The benefit of using a hydraulic system is that it is simple to multiply more force if needed, and get the desired power for your machine. To make this work, all you have to do is change the size of one of the pistons and cylinder, while still making them relative to each other. To do this, you need to measure the sizes of the pistons, and plug those numbers into this formula Pi times r2. Once you determine the difference between the two, you will know how much force is needed to reach your desired power. After you have determined the numbers, you will need to raise one of the pistons, while decompressing the other to reach your optimum power.

About the Author

Ted Marten lives in New York City and began writing professionally in 2007, with articles appearing on various websites. Marten has a bachelor's degree in English and has also received a certificate in filmmaking from the Digital Film Academy.