Students learn about the fundamental concepts important to fluid power, which includes both pneumatic (gas) and hydraulic (liquid) systems. Both systems contain four basic components: reservoir/receiver, pump/compressor, valve, cylinder. Students learn background information about fluid power—both pneumatic and hydraulic systems—including everyday applications in our world (bulldozers, front-end loaders, excavators, chair height lever adjustors, door closer dampers, dental drills, vehicle brakes) and related natural laws. After a few simple teacher demos, they learn about the four components in all fluid power systems, watch two 26-minute online videos about fluid power, complete a crossword puzzle of fluid power terms, and conduct a task card exercise. This prepares them to conduct the associated hands-on activity, using the Portable Fluid Power Demonstrator (teacher-prepared kits) to learn more about the properties of gases and liquids in addition to how forces are transmitted and multiplied within these systems.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Math
- 2. Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm. (Grade 6)  ...show
- 3. Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6)  ...show
- 9. Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. For example, in a problem involving motion at constant speed, list and graph ordered pairs of distances and times, and write the equation d = 65t to represent the relationship between distance and time. (Grade 6)  ...show
- d. Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities. (Grade 6)  ...show
- Indiana: Math
- Write and solve linear equations and inequalities, interpret the solution or solutions in their context, and verify the reasonableness of the results. (Grade 8)  ...show
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- G. Transportation vehicles are made up of subsystems, such as structural propulsion, suspension, guidance, control, and support, that must function together for a system to work effectively. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- G. Power is the rate at which energy is converted from one form to another or transferred from one place to another, or the rate at which work is done. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Identify devices that utilize fluid power.
- Identify and explain basic components and functions of fluid power devices.
- Differentiate between the characteristics of pneumatic and hydraulic systems.
- Calculate values in a fluid power system utilizing Pascal's law.
- Calculate flow rate, flow velocity and mechanical advantage in a hydraulic system.
Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers
- Multiplication and variation of force: Linear or rotary force can be multiplied from a fraction of an ounce to several hundred tons of output.
- Easy, accurate control: You can start, stop, accelerate, decelerate, reverse or position large forces with great accuracy. Analog (infinitely variable) and digital (on/off) control are possible. Instantly reversible motion, within less than half a revolution, can be achieved.
- Multi-function control: A single hydraulic pump or air compressor can provide power and control for numerous machines or machine functions when combined with fluid power manifolds and valves.
- High horsepower / low weight ratio: Pneumatic components are compact and lightweight. You can hold a 5 horsepower hydraulic motor in the palm of your hand.
- Low speed torque: Unlike electric motors, air or hydraulic motors can produce large amounts of torque (twisting force) while operating at low speeds. Some hydraulic and air motors can even maintain torque at zero speed without overheating.
- Constant force or torque: This is a unique fluid power attribute.
- Safe in hazardous environments: Fluid power can be used in mines, chemical plants, near explosives and in paint applications because it is inherently spark-free and can tolerate high temperatures.
- Established standards and engineering: The fluid power industry has established design and performance standards for hydraulic and pneumatic products through NFPA, the National Fluid Power Association; ANSI, the American National Standards Institute; and ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.
- Source: NFPA's What Is Fluid Power? http://www.nfpa.com/fluidpower/whatisfluidpower.aspx
- Mobile: Fluid power is used to transport, excavate and lift materials as well as control or power mobile equipment. End use industries include construction, agriculture, marine and the military. Applications include backhoes, graders, tractors, truck brakes and suspensions, spreaders and highway maintenance vehicles.
- Industrial: Fluid power is used to provide power transmission and motion control for industrial machinery. End use industries range from plastics working to paper production. Applications include metalworking equipment, controllers, automated manipulators, material handling and assembly equipment.
- Aerospace: Fluid power is used for both commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft and related support equipment. Applications include landing gear, brakes, flight controls, motor controls and cargo loading equipment.
- Source: NFPA's What Is Fluid Power? http://www.nfpa.com/fluidpower/whatisfluidpower.aspx
|absolute pressure:||The total pressure exerted on a system, including atmospheric pressure.|
|atmospheric pressure:||The pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere above the point of measurement.|
|Boyle's law:||The volume of a gas at constant temperature varies inversely with the pressure exerted on it.|
|Charles' law:||The volume of a confined gas is proportional to its temperature, provided its pressure remains constant.|
|check valve:||A valve that allows flow in one direction but prevents flow in the opposite direction.|
|compressor:||An air pump that compresses air into a receiver tank.|
|crank:||A part of an axle or shaft bent out at right angles, for converting reciprocal to circular motion and vice versa.|
|cylinder:||A device used to convert fluid power into mechanical power in the form of linear motion.|
|directional-cntrol valve:||Used to control which path fluid takes in a circuit.|
|double-acting cylinder:||A cylinder that can act under pressure in both directions (extend and retract) to move a load.|
|filter:||A device used to remove contamination from a fluid.|
|flow meter:||A device used to measure flow rate.|
|flow rate:||The volume of fluid that moves through a system in a given period of time.|
|flow velocity:||The distance the fluid travels through a system in a given period of time.|
|flow-control valve:||Used to start and stop flow in a circuit.|
|fluid power:||The use of a fluid (liquid or gas) to transmit power from one location to another.|
|Gay-Lussac's law:||The absolute pressure of a confined gas is proportional to its temperature, provided its volume stays constant.|
|hydraulics:||The use of a liquid flowing under pressure to transmit power from one location to another.|
|lubricator:||A device used to spray an oil mist into the stream of a pneumatic system.|
|Pascal's law:||Pressure exerted by a confined fluid acts undiminished equally in all directions.|
|piston:||A sliding piece moved by or moving against fluid pressure, which usually consists of a short cylindrical body fitting within a cylindrical chamber or vessel along which it moves back and forth.|
|pneumatics:||The use of gas flowing under pressure to transmit power from one location to another.|
|pressure:||The force per unit area exerted by a fluid against a surface.|
|pressure regulator:||A type of pneumatic pressure control valve that controls the maximum pressure in a branch of a circuit.|
|pressure relief valve:||A type of pressure control valve that limits the maximum pressure in a hydraulic or pneumatic circuit.|
|pump:||A device used to create flow in a hydraulic system.|
|receiver tank:||A device that holds the compressed air in a pneumatic system.|
|reservoir:||The tank that holds the fluid in a hydraulic system.|
|single-acting cylinder:||A cylinder that acts under pressure in one direction only and returns automatically when the pressure is released.|
|solenoid:||A switching device that uses the magnetic field generated by an electrical current for actuation.|
|transmission Lines:||Used to transport fluid in a circuit.|
|valve:||Any device that controls, either automatically or manually, the flow of a fluid.|
|viscosity:||A measure of a fluid's thickness or resistance to flow.|
|volume:||The amount or quantity of something.The amount or quantity of something.|
- The Portable Fluid Power Demonstrator (PFPD) - Student groups learn the basics of fluid power design using the PFPD as the investigative platform. They investigate the similarities and differences between using pneumatic and hydraulic power. With the main components of the PFPD already assembled, they determine the correct way to connect the valves to the actuators using tubing. Once connected, teams compete to test their abilities to use the PFPD to separate material out of the containers.
- Fluid Power Crossword Puzzle and Answers (doc)
- Fluid Power Crossword Puzzle and Answers (pdf)
- PFPD Assembly Manual 07 2009 (doc)
- PFPD Assembly Manual 07 2009 (pdf)
- Fluid Power Task Cards (ppt)
- Fluid Power Task Cards (pdf)
- Task Card 1 (doc)
- Task Card 1 (pdf)
- Worksheet 1: What is Fluid Flow? (doc)
- Worksheet 1: What is Fluid Flow? (pdf)
- Worksheet 2: Pascal's Law (doc)
- Worksheet 2: Pascal's Law (pdf)
- Worksheet 3: Moments and Mechanical Advantage (doc)
- Worksheet 3: Moments and Mechanical Advantage (pdf)
- Worksheet 4: Fluid Power Capabilities (doc)
- Worksheet 4: Fluid Power Capabilities (pdf)
- Worksheet 5: Bernoulli's Equation (doc)
- Worksheet 5: Bernoulli's Equation (pdf)
- Worksheet 6: Energy Storage (doc)
- Worksheet 6: Energy Storage (pdf)
- U.S. Navy Fluid Power Training Manual (pdf)
- Have you ever seen a bulldozer or excavator move a lot of dirt where a new project is being built?
- Have you ever been in a chair that is raised or lowered by pushing or pulling a lever?
- Did you ever open a screen door and notice it closes smoothly and by itself?
- Has a dentist ever used a drill to remove tooth decay in your mouth?
- When you are riding in a car or truck and the driver pushes the brake pedal, do you start to slow down?
Lesson Summary Assessment
Additional Multimedia Support
Beasley, Jr., MWC Albert. Fluid Power Training Manual. July 1990 edition. NAVEDTRA 12964, Metal Web News, Naval Education and Training Program Management Support Activity, U.S. Navy, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC. Stock ordering #: 0502-LP-213-2300. Accessed July 12, 2009. http://www.metalwebnews.org/ftp/fluid-power.pdf
Bogusia, "Teaching the Hydraulics and Pneumatics Unit to Children." Nucleus Learning. 9 Oct. 2008. Accessed 8 July 2009. http://www.nucleuslearning.com/lessonplan/teaching-hydraulics-and-pneumatics-unit-children
Bordessa, Kris. "Super Science Experiments for Kids - A Collection of Gooey, Explosive & Easy Projects to Do at Home." Albermarle Family. 2009 Ivy Publications, LLC. Accessed 22 July 2009. http://www.albemarlefamily.com/vpage.htm?pageid=194
"D&T Online pneumatics information." D&T Online. 1997 D&T Online. Accessed 18 June 2009. http://www.dtonline.org/apps/infopage/app.exe?3&5&1&0&1&0
Figueras, Antonio. "Graphical Symbols for Hydraulic Circuits." Roquet. March, 2004. Accessed 24 July 2009. http://www.hydraulic-gear-pumps.com/pdf/Hydraulic%20Symbols.pdf
"Fluid Power eBooks." Hydraulics & Pneumatics. 2009 Penton Media, Inc. Accessed 23 July 2009. http://www.hydraulicspneumatics.com/200/eBooks/
"Fluid Power Systems." 2009. Lesson Plans, Thirteen Ed Online, Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Accessed 20 July 2009. http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/lessons/fluid/index.html
"Grades 9-12 Technology – Engineering – Design – Fluids - Hydraulics – Pneumatics." K12 Station. Accessed 22 July 2009. http://www.k12station.com/k12link_library.html?subject=NST&sub_cat=105398&final=105405
"Intro to Forces of Fluid Power 110." ToolinguU. 2009 Tooling University. Accessed18 July 2009. http://www.toolingu.com/class_cla ss_desc.aspx?class_ID=570110
"ISO / CETOP HYDRAULIC SYMBOLS." Hydraulic Supermarket. Accessed 25 July 2009. http://www.hydraulicsupermarket.com/upload/db_documents_doc_19.pdf
"Linkage mechanism simulator." Accessed 22 July 2009. http://www.hydraulicsupermarket.com/upload/db_documents_doc_19.pdf
Nave, C.R. "Pascal's Principle." HyperPhysics. 2005. Accessed 22 July 2009. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/pasc.html#pp
"NFPA Fluid Power Applications." National Fluid Power Asscociation. Accessed 26 July 2009. http://www.nfpa.com/OurIndustry/OurInd_AboutFP_FluidPowerApplications_pdfs.asp
"NFPA Careers Menu Page." National Fluid Power Asscociation. Accessed 22 July 2009.
"NFPA Online Store." National Fluid Power Association. Accessed 10 July 2009.
"Special Focus: Fluid Power/Power Transmission." Design News. Accessed 19 July 2009. http://www.designnews.com/channel/Fluid_Power_and_Power_Transmission.php
Van den Brink, R. "Hydraulics." 23 July 2009. Accessed 24 July 2009. http://home.wxs.nl/~brink494/frm_e.htm
Brian Bettag, Jose Garcia, Phong Pham, Nicki Schrank, John H. Lumkes
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2009 Purdue University
Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, College of Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Purdue University
Last modified: July 2, 2015