Both hydraulics and pneumatics utilise the power of fluid in terms of their general applications. The main difference between the two, however, lies in the type of fluid power that each of them utilises. For hydraulics, it can perform core functions through incompressible liquid media. Alternatively, pneumatics can function optimally with the use of compressible gas.
Pneumatics is a branch of engineering that has been maximised by industries such as construction, dentistry, material handling, medical, mining, packaging, and robotics given that it can perform many functions with a compressible gas. Systems that are intended to work around this branch of engineering are primarily comprised of cylinders, air motors, pneumatic actuators, and other pneumatic devices, which are all powered by an electrically powered compressor.
Another component that plays a vital role in pneumatic systems is the pneumatic valve. Pneumatic valves are designed to keep the systems work optimally even under heavy load.
Pneumatic Valves Working Principles
Before knowing how a pneumatic valve works, you must first know how the whole pneumatic system functions. Pneumatic systems carry out their functions by maximining compressible air. This type of air is typically forced to be in a compressed state, which then allows it to build up potential energy. Once it is released to the system, it expands and subsequently releases kinetic energy that is responsible for the whole operation of machines and other equipment that utilise pneumatic systems.
The pressurised air, which can be normally found in a compressor, is typically held by reservoirs. This is done to ensure that the force needed for the operation of machines will be produced optimally. The pneumatic valve, at this point, will either open or close depending on the condition of the air.
Once the pressure on the air becomes strong enough, it effectively compresses the springs underneath the reservoir, pushes the diaphragm down, and closes the valve altogether. Alternatively, once the air released out of the diaphragm, it effectively uncoils the springs and opens the valve. The movements of the valves help in controlling the pressure and movement of fluid power.
Core Functions of Pneumatic Valves
Pneumatic valves typically come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These varieties allow them to meet the specific requirements of each machine and equipment. However, most of them have similar core functions that make them effective for the entire pneumatic systems.
One of the core functions of pneumatic valves is to control pressure. The opening and closing actions of the valve can help control the movement of the fluid power without causing any issues with the systems. Another core function of the pneumatic valves is to control the flow rate of the air. Flow control valves can sometimes cause problems in the systems. Fortunately, pneumatic valves can help in controlling the flow in one direction and preventing instances of backflow.
Ultimately, pneumatic valves can help in stopping or changing the direction of the pressurised air. This specific core function can be carried out by two-way, three-way, and four-way directional valves through their significant ports and connections to other parts of the pneumatic system.
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