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Fluid Mechanics: Hydraulics

A hydraulic system takes advantage of pressure and a containers cross-sectional area. When dealing with hydraulics you should realize that the pressure theoretically is the same throughout the hydraulic system. To calculate the pressure equation 1 would be used.

Pressure Equation (1)

P = Pressure

F = Force

A = Cross-Sectional Area


Notice from equation 1 that pressure is a product of a certain cross-sectional area and an applied force. So this means that if the two different cross-sectional areas are connected a mechanical advantage will result, since this affectively will increase the output force due to the fact the pressure will remain the same throughout the system but the areas change. Refer to equation 2 to calculate the output force of a hydraulic system.

Hydraulic Force Equation (2)

Now when ever a device is created that provides a mechanical advantage, a loss must follow. This loss is travel. The container that has the smaller cross-sectional area has to travel a much greater distance to cause the container that has the larger cross-sectional area to travel a certain distance. Refer to the figure below.

Hydraulic System

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