All about Hydraulic Accumulators
An accumulator is a device that is capable of storing energy, and its functionality is made possible through the compression of dry inert gases within a container that is open to hydraulic oils or other incompressible fluids. Present in numerous industries, hydraulic accumulators are often either bladder type or floating piston type, though other variations may exist. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of hydraulic accumulators, allowing you to best understand how they function and how they may be used.
As stated before, hydraulic accumulators may be present in a number of industries and applications. Generally, the most common uses for accumulators include applications related to emergency and safety, shock or pulsation dampening, leakage compensation, thermal expansion, energy conservation, noise reduction, and improved response times. While these uses may seem quite varied, the role that the hydraulic accumulator plays will often be somewhat similar due to the functionality that they provide for a system.
In order for a hydraulic accumulator to operate, it relies on the compressibility differences between gasses and fluids. In an accumulator that utilizes the bladder design, the contained nitrogen gas is highly compressible while the hydraulic oil is nearly incompressible. Within the bladder, pre-charging is carried out by having nitrogen gas maintained at a set pressure determined by system parameters. When the system is powered, a hydraulic pump forces fluids to enter the accumulator, and nitrogen begins to be further compressed as the fluids fill up the shell. The resulting pressure then serves as the stored energy, and the bladder compresses and deforms in shape to balance the pressurized nitrogen. Once flow is needed, the pressure of the fluid system drops and hydraulic oil flows out of the shell. As the compressed nitrogen exerts force on the fluids, they are pushed out of the shell and the bladder returns to its original state to repeat the cycle once again.
Due to the method in which hydraulic accumulators function, it is important to calculate the precise pre-charge pressure for the hydraulic accumulator, and regular values are set to a pre-charge pressure at 80-90% of the minimum system working pressure for the benefit of the bladder. By utilizing the correct operational settings, a well maintained hydraulic accumulator should last for a number of years with efficient operations.
When deciding upon a particular accumulator for your needs, there are various considerations that one may make. While determining the actual placement and sizing of the accumulator can be a very thorough process utilizing charts or formulae, the most basic requirements to first consider are the system’s total fluid volume for functionality, the minimum and maximum system working pressures, all fluid operating temperatures, the machine cycle time, and fluid specifications. While there is more specific information that may be needed for a perfect fit, the aforementioned considerations are a perfect place to start in order to narrow down your selection.
With the proper implementation and use of hydraulic accumulators, one may find a number of benefits. For example, accumulators can lower the cost of installations, ensuring that less oil is spent with the ability to utilize smaller pumps and electric motors. Additionally, leaking and maintenance costs can both be reduced as accumulators mitigate system shock and thus promote longer service lives of parts. Coupled with improved performance, lower noise levels, reduced energy costs, and heightened flexibility in design, accumulators are very beneficial for many applications.
When you are ready to source the hydraulic accumulator components that you require for your operations, the experts at ASAP Aviation Procurement are readily available 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process as necessary. ASAP Aviation Procurement is a trusted distributor for all kinds of aircraft parts, and we leverage competitive pricing and rapid lead-times for the benefit of our customers utilizing our market expertise and purchasing power. To receive quotes on items you are interested in for your comparisons, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website. Once received by our staff, a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less with a personalized quote.