Hydraulic accumulator is a mechanical device used in hydraulic applications. It works as an intermediate device between supply lines of hydraulic fluid from pump to required machines like hydraulic lift, hydraulic press, hydraulic cranes etc. It temporarily stores the pressurized hydraulic fluid when operating machine is at ideal condition. Some hydraulic machines require high pressure for a small period of time or we can say that only for required working period so this time hydraulic accumulator comes into the play. It stores the pressurized hydraulic fluid at ideal time and supply to the machine when it is required. Pump continuously supplies the fluid which is not required all the time that’s why hydraulic accumulator creates a balance between the demand and supply of hydraulic fluid. For highly loaded working operations high capacity pumps are not required because small pumps can do same job with the application of hydraulic accumulator which is the main advantage of it. The maximum amount of hydraulic energy stored by any hydraulic accumulator is known as the capacity of the accumulator.
Constructions and working:
A simple hydraulic accumulator consists of a cylinder with inlet and outlet ports for the hydraulic fluid, inlet are attached with the pump where as outlet is connected with the operational machine. Cylinder consists of a ram with reciprocating motion inside the cylinder and having some weight on the top of the ram. The arrangement of the ram and cylinder should be vertical in position.
Pump continuously supplies the hydraulic fluid to the operating machine through the accumulator, when there is no requirement of the fluid the outlet becomes close. This time continuous supply from the pump raises the ram/plunger in the upward position gradually till the extreme end or until the outlet is open. This operation helps to store the hydraulic energy inside the accumulator for a small period of time. As the operating machine require pressurized fluid for the power stroke then the outlet port becomes open and ram with weights on the top starts slides downward gradually which results high pressurized liquid is delivered to the operating machine during its power stroke. This whole operation repeated continuously and helps us to do difficult tasks with small investment of energy in daily life.
Hydraulic accumulator plays important role in the hydraulic applications where high pressure is requires for working operation although the basic principle and working operation explained above but it has some important functions, some of these functions are
- Stores hydraulic energy: As we studied above the most important function of the any hydraulic accumulator is to store the hydraulic energy and transmit it further when requires. It results a small size pump able to do high capacity tasks which save lot of input power and energy.
- Reduce vibrations and shocks: It works as intermediate device between the pump and the operating machine so it helps to obtain a smooth and noise free operation while working which results less vibrations and shocks will occurs in the system. The turbulence in the flow coming from the pump is easily settled by the ram/plunger action into the accumulator.
- Safety device: Hydraulic accumulator works as safety device also because it works as intermediate device so it control any kind of bursting due to high pressure hydraulic fluid in the transmission line.
- Work as reservoir: Hydraulic accumulator stores the excess energy of the fluid and transmits further when it is required so we can say that it works as a reservoir of hydraulic energy.
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