Using hydraulics (or fluid power) is a complex area of science. Whether it’s used in your workplace or not, hydraulics are everywhere, from the brakes inside your car to farming equipment. It can be complicated to understand, so we’ve put together a brief guide to understanding where this science came from and how hydraulic power works. Whether you work with hydraulics, wish to pursue a career in an industry that uses them or need help understanding it for a school science test coming up, our blog can hopefully help.
In short, hydraulics is the power of “fluid in motion” and fluid in motion has been a powerful source of energy for thousands of years. Water was used to turn wheels and push levers but evolved from this into fluid power that would pressurise fluids to produce powerful forces. In the 1600s, a physicist named Blaise Pascal realised that pressure on a confined fluid exerted an equal force in all directions, and those forces could potentially be harnessed. From that, many put this into practice, implementing the ideas into mills and hydraulic presses. But the basic science of hydraulics and fluid power is known as Pascal’s Principle.
How does it work?
In short, a hydraulic system uses compressed fluid to transfer force applied at one point to another point. Take a water pistol, for example; by pressing on the trigger, a large force is applied that moves the trigger a short distance and, because the water won’t squeeze into a smaller space, it gets forced through the pistol to the narrow nozzle before squirting the water with less force but more speed. This process is a simplified version of a hydraulic system or pump.
In a bigger form, hydraulic systems are made up of many components, carefully constructed together to create energy to lift, carry, open or push objects. And, they are powerful – in theory, if a hydraulic system is crafted with a 2-inch cylinder, it will be able to create more than 4,700 pounds of force, easily lifting an average sized vehicle.
At HP Hydraulics, we understand how complicated hydraulics can be and how difficult it can be to understand them. Whether you use hydraulics in your everyday job or not, hydraulics are an important part of our modern world and it’s predicted that they’ll be around for thousands and thousands of years. For expert and comprehensive hydraulic repairs and maintenance, contact one of our branches today.