Browse Definitions:
Definition

hydraulics

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Hydraulics is mechanical function that operates through the force of liquid pressure. In hydraulics-based systems, mechanical movement is produced by contained, pumped liquid, typically through cylinders moving pistons. Hydraulics is a component mechatronics, which combines mechanical, electronics and software engineering in the designing and manufacturing of products and processes.

Simple hydraulic systems include aqueducts and irrigation systems that deliver water, using gravity to create water pressure. These systems essentially use water’s own properties to make it deliver itself. More complex hydraulics use a pump to pressurize liquids (typically oils), moving a piston through a cylinder as well as valves to control the flow of oil.

A log splitter is a single-piston hydraulic machine that uses a valve at either end of the cylinder that allows the pistons to be moved by the pressurized liquid, driving a wedge to force wood into smaller pieces and return to a home position. Force multiplication can be created by using a cylinder with a smaller diameter to push a larger piston in a larger cylinder. Often, there will be a number of pistons. Industrial equipment such as backhoes often use a number of cylinders to move different parts. Electronic controls are generally used for these more complicated setups on large, powerful equipment.

Hydraulics are similar to pneumatic systems in function. Both systems use fluids but, unlike pneumatics, hydraulics use liquids rather than gasses. Hydraulics systems are capable of greater pressures: up to 10000 pounds per square inch (psi) vs about 100 psi in pneumatics systems. This pressure is due to the incompressibility of liquids which enables greater power transfer with increased efficiency as energy is not lost to compression, except in the case where air gets into hydraulic lines. Fluids used in hydraulics may lubricate, cool and transmit power as well. Pneumatics, being less multifaceted, require oil lubrication separately, which can be messy with air pressure. Pneumatics are simpler in design and to control, safer (with less risk of fire) and more reliable, partially as the compressibility of the gas-absorbing shock can protect the mechanism.

How It's Made demonstrates the use of hydraulics:

This was last updated in January 2017

Continue Reading About hydraulics

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close