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Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics & Pneumatics

Fluid Power Systems

The Basic System

• Introduce the basic principles of fluid power systems
• Describe the functions of the components involved in
basic fluid power systems.
• Describe the structure of basic fluid power systems.
• Explain the operation of basic fluid power systems.

Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics & Pneumatics

Introduction to
Principles of Hydraulics
• Hydraulic systems are extremely important to the operation of heavy
• Hydraulic principles are used when designing hydraulic implement
systems, steering systems, brake systems, power assisted steering,
power train systems and automatic transmissions.
• To understand how hydraulic systems operate, it is necessary to
understand the principles of hydraulics.
• Hydraulics is the study of liquids in motion and pressure in pipes and
• The science of hydraulics can be divided into two sciences:
– Hydrodynamics
– Hydrostatics
• This describes the science of moving liquids.
• Applications of hydrodynamics:
– Water wheel or turbine; devices which
generate mechanical power by the fluid’s
– A pump is a device that uses mechanical
action to move fluids.

• This describes the science of liquids under pressure.
• Applications of hydrostatics:
– hydraulic jack or hydraulic press
– hydraulic cylinder actuation
• In hydrostatic devices, pushing on a liquid that is
trapped (confined) transfers power.
• If the liquid moves or flows in a system then
movement in that system will happen.
• Most hydraulic machines or equipment in use
today operate hydrostatically.

Hydraulic Principles
There are several advantages for using a liquid:
– Liquids conform to the shape of the container.
– Liquids are practically incompressible.
– Liquids apply pressure in all directions.
• Hydraulic “work done” is a combination of pressure, and
flow, over time.
– Pressure without flow results in no action.
𝑃𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 = 𝑝 𝑥 𝑄
– Flow without pressure results in no action.
• Hydraulic pressure is a result of resistance to flow and force:
– Increase in flow, decrease in pressure
– Decrease in flow, increase in pressure.
• Hydraulic flow is movement.

Functions of Fluid Power Systems
• Fluid power systems perform five functions during
– Energy conversion
– Fluid distribution
– Fluid control
– Work performance
– Fluid maintenance

Functions of Fluid Power Systems

Structure of Fluid Power Systems
• Fluid power systems are structured using component
groups that perform specific system functions:
– Power unit group
– Actuators group
– Conductors group
– Control valves group
– Fluid maintenance group

A Typical Hydraulic System

1 – pump
2 – oil tank
3 – flow control valve
4 – pressure relief valve
5 – hydraulic cylinder
6 – directional control valve
7 – throttle valve
Example of Hydraulic Systems

Advantages of Hydrostatic Systems
• Simple method to create linear movements
• Creation of large forces and torques, high energy density
• Continuously variable movement of the actuator
• Simple overload protection (no damage in case of overload)
• Low delay, small time constant because of low inertia
• Simple monitoring of load by measuring pressure
• Arbitrary positioning of prime mover and actuator
• Large power density (relatively small mass for a given power
compared to electrical and mechanical drives)
• Robust (insensitive against environmental influences
Basic System Components
Power unit group
• Deals primarily with energy conversion

• Consists of:

– Prime mover

– Pump or compressor

– Reservoir or receiver

Basic System Components

Actuators group
• Performs the work of the system
• Consists of both cylinders and motors

Basic System Components

Conductors group
• Conductors distribute fluid
throughout the system
• Consists of:
– Pipes
– Tubes
– Hoses

Basic System Components
Control valves group
• Controls fluid pressure, flow direction, and flow rate

• Three groups of valves:

– Directional control valves

– Pressure control valves

– Flow control valves

Basic System Components
Fluid maintenance group
• Maintains system fluid by removing dirt,
moisture, and excessive heat

• Filters and other devices are used to perform

these functions

Basic System Components

• Comparisons can be made between hydraulic

and pneumatic systems

• System terminology and designs may vary

between hydraulic and pneumatic systems

Basic System Components
Power unit
• Electric motors and internal combustion engines
are most often the prime movers
• The pump or compressor produces the fluid flow
• Fluid flow is created by internal pressure
• Fluid flow transmits energy throughout the system
• System reservoir or receiver stores system fluid
• Reservoir/receiver also contributes to system
temperature control and fluid cleaning
Basic System Components
• Cylinders are used in
both hydraulic and
pneumatic systems
• Cylinders produce
linear motion
• Motors are used in
both hydraulic and
pneumatic systems
• Motors produce rotary
Basic System Components
• Motion is created when pressurized fluid moves
an internal part of the actuators from a high
pressure area toward a low pressure area

Basic System Components

• Pipes
• Tubes
• Hoses
• Transmit system fluid to system components

Basic System Components
Control valves
• Directional control valves
– Vary the direction of movement of cylinders
and motors
– Change fluid flow paths to and from the
• Pressure control valves
– Control pressure in a fluid power system
– Restrict fluid flow into a part of the system
– Allow fluid to return to a low pressure area
after a desired pressure is reached

Basic System Components
Control valves
• Flow control valves
– Control fluid flow rate in a system
– The size of an orifice is adjusted to change
flow rate

Basic System Components
Fluid maintenance devices
• Filters
• Separators
• Lubricators
• Used to remove contaminates and condition the
• Assure effective system performance and
acceptable service life

Basic System Operation
Hydraulic system operation
• Movement of oil originates at the pump
• Low pressure at the pump inlet causes oil to
pass through a filter as it flows from the
reservoir into the pump
• High pressure at the pump outlet forces oil to
the directional control valve and on to the
• System work is performed by the actuator

Basic System Operation
Hydraulic system operation
• Pressure control valves limit pressure in the
• Flow control valves control the speed of actuator
• Oil is returned to the reservoir to be recirculated
through the system

Basic System Operation
Pneumatic system operation
• Movement of air begins at the compressor
• As air moves into the system from the atmosphere, it is:
– Filtered
– Compressed
– Stored in the receiver under pressure

• Pressurized air is distributed to system workstations

Basic System Operation
Pneumatic system operation
• At the workstation:
– A pressure regulator sets working pressure
– A filter and lubricator provide final conditioning

• Air then moves through a directional control valve and on to

an actuator
• System work is performed by the actuator

Basic System Operation
Pneumatic system operation
• During system operation, flow control valves control the
speed of actuator movement
• Air is discharged back into the atmosphere after passing
through the system

Basic Fluid Power Formulas

Basic Fluid Power Formulas / Hydraulics / Pneumatics

Word Formula w/
Variable Simplified Formula
(PSI) = Force (Pounds) /
Fluid Pressure - P P = F/A
Area ( Sq. In.)

GPM= Flow (Gallons) / Unit

Fluid Flow Rate - Q Q = V/ T
Time (Minutes)

Horsepower = Pressure
Fluid Power in Horsepower - HP HP = PQ / 1714
(PSIG) × Flow (GPM)/ 1714

Basic Fluid Power Formulas
Actuator Formulas
Variable Word Formula w/ Units Simplified Formula
( Sq. In.) = π × Radius (inch)2 A = π × R2
Cylinder Area - A
(Sq. In.) = π × Diameter (inch)2 / 4 A = π × D2 / 4
Cylinder Force - F (Pounds) = Pressure (psi) × Area (sq. in.) F = P×A
Cylinder Speed - v (Feet / sec.) = (231 × Flow Rate (gpm)) / (12 × 60 × Area) v = (0.3208 × gpm) / A

2 V = π × R2 × L / 231
Cylinder Volume Capacity - V Volume = π × Radius × Stroke (In.) / 231
(L = length of stroke)
Cylinder Flow Rate - Q Volume = 12 × 60 × Velocity (Ft./Sec.) × Net Area(In.)2 / 231 Q = 3.11688 × v × A
Torque (in. lbs.) = Pressure (psi) × disp. (in.3/ rev.) / 6.2822 T = P × d / 6.2822
Fluid Motor Torque - T Torque = HP × 63025 / RPM T = HP × 63025 / n
Torque = Flow Rate (GPM) × Pressure × 36.77 / RPM T = 36.77 × Q × P / n
Fluid Motor Speed - n Speed (RPM) = (231 × GPM) / Disp. (in.)3 n = (231 × GPM) / d
Fluid Motor Horsepower - HP HP = Torque (in. lbs.) × rpm / 63025 HP = T × n / 63025

Basic Fluid Power Formulas
Pump Formulas
Variable Word Formula w/ Units Simplified Formula
Pump Output Flow - GPM GPM = (Speed (rpm) × disp. (cu. in.)) / 231 GPM = (n ×d) / 231
Pump Input Horsepower - HP HP = GPM × Pressure (psi) / 1714 × Efficiency HP = (Q ×P) / 1714 × E
Overall Efficiency = Output HP / Input HP EOverall = HPOut / HPIn X 100
Pump Efficiency - E
Overall Efficiency = Volumetric Eff. × Mechanical Eff. EOverall = EffVol. × EffMech.
Volumetric Efficiency = Actual Flow Rate Output (GPM) /
Pump Volumetric Efficiency - E EffVol. = QAct. / QTheo. X 100
Theoretical Flow Rate Output (GPM) × 100
Mechanical Efficiency = Theoretical Torque to Drive /
Pump Mechanical Efficiency - E EffMech = TTheo. / TAct. × 100
Actual Torque to Drive × 100
Displacement (In.3 / rev.) = Flow Rate (GPM) × 231 / Pump
Pump Displacement - CIPR CIPR = GPM × 231 / RPM
Torque = Horsepower × 63025 / RPM T = 63025 × HP / RPM
Pump Torque - T
Torque = Pressure (PSIG) × Pump Displacement (CIPR) / 2π T = P × CIPR / 6.28

Basic Fluid Power Formulas

General Fluid Power Guidelines:

Horsepower for driving a pump:
For every 1 hp of drive, the equivalent of 1 gpm @ 1500 psi can be produced.
Horsepower for idling a pump:
To idle a pump when it is unloaded will require about 5% of it's full rated power
Wattage for heating hydraulic oil:
Each watt will raise the temperature of 1 gallon of oil by 1° F. per hour.
Flow velocity in hydraulic lines:
Pump suction lines 2 to 4 feet per second, pressure lines up to 500 psi - 10 to 15
ft./sec., pressure lines 500 to 3000 psi - 15 to 20 ft./sec.; all oil lines in air-over-oil
systems; 4 ft./sec.

Review Question
Fluid power systems are made up of _____ containing
parts designed to perform specific tasks.

component groups

Review Question
The fluid control function of a fluid power system controls
system pressure and fluid flow _____ and _____.

rate; direction

Review Question
The number and appearance of components in a fluid
power system is influenced by the type of _____,
application, and _____.

fluid; power output

Review Question
Fluids are distributed throughout a fluid power system by
components referred to as _____.


Review Question
Fluid power system filters may be located in one or more of
three typical locations. List these three locations.

Intake line; working lines; return lines.

Review Question
In the pneumatic fluid power system, after the pressurized
system air has completed its work, it is exhausted to the


• Pump
– A hydraulic component turned by the prime mover that produces
fluid flow, which transmits energy through the system.
• Reynolds, Osborne
– A scientist of the late 1800s who did extensive development work
in the fluid mechanics area. Reynolds is credited with
identification of the principles of laminar and turbulent flow.
• Watt, James
– An inventor of the late 18th century who extensively contributed
to growth during the Industrial Revolution. Watt is typically
identified as the inventor of the first practical steam engine.

Assignments / Self Study

• Examples 1.1 to 1.7; Solve yourself

• Do problems 1.1, 1.14, 1.20, 1.31, 1.25, 1.36, 1.48,

1.58, 1.71, from Chapter 1 of text book

References & Acknowledgements
1. Data, figures and theory has been used from various sources
a) A Brief Introduction to Fluid Mechanics 5th ed. - D. Young, et al.,
(Wiley, 2011)
b) © Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc (Permission granted to reproduce
for educational use only)
c) National Fluid Power Association. (2008). What is fluid power.
d) National Fluid Power Association. (2000). Fluid Power Training.
e) National Fluid Power Association & Fluid Power Distributors
Association. Fluid power: The active partner in motion control