Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 2

Hello all,

I hope everything is coming along with your projects. Being around fluid power has made it easier to spot hydraulic components and systems all around me. I live in Stillwater MN where a huge construction project is underway to extend a bridge across the St. Croix river. I pass the construction site often and notice these huge hydraulic lifts and cranes used to raise large sections of the concrete bridge into place for installation.

The power contained in these machines is incredible and I can see why construction sites need to utilize this technology to complete their work. However, a big problem with these machines is their efficiency. Within these systems there are a many valves that operate more efficiently when used with "stiffer" fluids. While oil is a reasonably stiff fluid, sometimes gas bubbles find their way into the system and cause the "stiffness" of the hydraulic fluid to lessen. If we could characterize how these valves behave under different gas-fluid mixtures then we can better time the opening and closing of valves so as to not waste energy. To do this I was tasked with creating a fluid density/compressibility sensor which I have designed in CAD. I have not used CAD before this but after a little learning curve this software can do some amazing things, especially with stress and deformation analysis.

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