How Hydraulics Work: The Basics

Cranes Hydraulics can do some pretty amazing things. Of course, one can deduce that the hydro in hydraulics has something to do with water. But most people have never even taken a moment to consider what in the world water would have to do with the gigantic cranes that hover over city skylines.

Hydraulic machines are all around us, from heavy-duty construction to smaller, less obvious jobs. If you’re already part of the industry, you probably have a pretty good understanding of how hydraulics works. But we figured we’d lay it out in simple terms for all the laymen out there.

To understand hydraulics, it helps to first think about a squeeze bottle that’s completely filled with water. The slightest squeeze sends a thin stream of water shooting off into the distance, much to the chagrin of whoever it’s been aimed at. This is a great representation of the power of liquids. Imagine if you could take that force, harness it, and use it in larger applications. Well, that’s exactly what hydraulics does.

Liquid is highly fluid like a gas, yet uncompressible like a solid. This is exactly what makes it so useful. If you think water is too weak to lift a crane, ask someone who’s jumped into water from a great height. With enough force, and when properly constrained, water can exert a lot of pressure.

Think back to the squeeze bottle example. When you clamp down on it, the small stream of water that comes out of the end is less forceful than what was exerted by your hand. Hydraulics works by reversing this process. A relatively small amount of force is applied to a small space. That force is magnified on the other end when it exerts greater force onto a larger area.

This is possible only because of the uncompressible yet highly fluid properties of liquid. Years and years of research and development in the field of hydraulics have led to modern miracles that allow us to lift heavier objects and build even more massive structures. See, it’s not all that complicated after all.

To harness the power of hydraulics on your project, give Astro Crane a call today for the absolute best in the business.