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Encyclopedia > Hydraulic

Hydraulics is a branch of science and engineering concerned with the use of liquids to perform mechanical tasks. It is part of the more general discipline of fluid power.

The word "hydraulics" comes from the Greek word ὑδϱαυλικός (hydraulikos) which in turn comes from ὕδϱαυλος meaning water organ which in turn comes from ὕδωϱ (water) and αὐλός (pipe). The earliest masters of this art were Hero of Alexandria and Ctesibius. The ancient engineers however focused on sacral and novelty uses of hydraulics, rather than practical applications.

Typically, the fluid used in a hydraulic system is an incompressible liquid such as water or oil. Pressure is applied by a piston to fluid in a cylinder, causing the fluid to press on another piston that delivers energy to a load. If the areas of the two pistons are different, then the force applied to the first piston will be different from the force exerted by the second piston. This creates a mechanical advantage.

One of the founders of modern hydraulics was Benedetto Castelli, a student of Galileo Galilei.


External links

Useful visualizations of hydraulic elements can be found at [1] (http://home.wxs.nl/~brink494/frm_e.htm)

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