The use of Oil as a lubricant in industrial machinery and even otherwise is well known. However not many know that it also has immense scope and is widely used as a pressurized liquid in the systems and machinery.
Hydraulics is a term used to describe the generation, control, and transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids and oil is one of the main liquids that is used extensively in this process.
Hydraulic Oil is needed to run every machine that has a power pack. To the Power pack, hydraulic oil is like fuel is to a car.
This article gives an overview of the scope of hydraulic oil and its uses in various machinery, vehicles and equipment:
a. Automotive Braking: Hydraulics automotive braking systems were first used in the early 20th century and work in the following way: They route of the oils through a network of tubes and cylinders to exert stopping pressure against brake pads or even shoes. Hence, that oil makes it possible for the braking mechanism to exert the steady and sustained pressure that is necessary for smooth stopping. The introduction of automotive brakes made many subsequent braking modernizations possible, including anti-lock brakes and self-adjusting brakes.
b. Power Steering: One of the most common uses of hydraulic oil is the power steering in cars. Here mineral oil is used for its low compressibility. In these systems there are two high-pressure hoses that are connected from the steering mechanism both sides of the center seal. One hose directs high-pressure hydraulic fluid, mostly oil from the power steering pump to the steering mechanism, while the other hose allows fluid to flow back to the pump. When the power steering is turned to the right or the left, the steering system allows the hydraulic oil to pass to that particular side of the rack.
c. Car jacks: Hydraulic car jacks work on this basic principle to lift heavy loads: they use pump plungers to move oil through two cylinders. The plunger is first pulled back. This opens up the suction valve ball inside and draws oil into the pump chamber. When the plunger is pushed forward, the oil passes through an external discharge check valve into the cylinder chamber, and the suction valve closes. This in turn results in pressure building within the cylinder.
d. Heavy Machinery: Excavators, Backhoes, bulldozers and quite a few other heavy-duty equipments utilize this oils to perform their functions. Hydraulic oils are transmitted through the cylinders and motors to produce the force that is required to lift heavy objects and move earth. Any fluid leak thus directly affects the machines performance.
e. Industrial manufacturing Process: Hydraulic systems are widely used in various industries to manufacture products. Many machines that require considerable force and energy often rely on the technology and processes. One of the main industries that use of technology is the automobile production assembly lines. Other heavy-duty production machines include sheering machines, expansion machines and compacting and forging machines.
f. Aircraft: Hydraulic systems are used to operate a variety of aircraft mechanisms including wing movement systems, landing gear and engine boosters. Just like it works in automobiles and heavy equipment, aircrafts use pumps, cylinders and motors to store energy generated by hydraulic oil. Pressurized hydraulic oil is then routed to mechanisms that require force to operate correctly. Aircrafts, predominantly high-speed ones, such as jets and military aircrafts, rely largely on hydraulic systems to operate. Hydraulic systems are also used in and wheel brakes and wing flaps. Aeroplanes also use hydraulic systems for brake operations, engine starts and clutch systems.
g. Submarines: Hydraulic systems using the oil and other fluids are extensively used in submarine operations since 1945. Before that, submarines worked on electrical power to operate their equipment. After 1945, most submarines were modified to use hydraulic power. The acceptance and popularity of hydraulic submarines was largely due to its efficiency and effectiveness. Moreover, they are also easier to operate. Submarines use the hydraulic system to operate their shutter doors, ballast tank vents, torpedo tubes, steering abilities and most other controls.
Hydraulic systems make use of many fluids including different types of oil and even water. However water turns out to be expensive and also throws up additional challenges besides having lower viscosity and higher specific gravity. Oil is thus a much preferred fluid in hydraulic systems and thus widely used.