Hydraulic systems in aircraft are a very important and complex system, and always need to be maintained adhering to the highest standard. As an aircraft hydraulic systems, or AHS, is vital to the aircraft’s performance and safety, it’s crucial that it works at peak efficiency with as little downtime as possible. As they are a very intricate system that serve many different functions, understanding aviation hydraulic systems is the first step to their maintenance.
Hydraulic systems are a fairly basic concept in how they function, despite being complex systems altogether. Pressurized liquid, called hydraulic fluid or oil, is able to change the position of various components such as landing gear and cargo doors based on the fluid mechanics principle of Pascal’s law. To convey Pascal’s law in simplistic terms, it is that a change in enclosed pressure fluid will be reflected in its entirety to the rest of the fluid, transferring it’s pressure. For example, in regards to aircraft, this means that when a pilot flips a switch, a pump begins to apply pressure to an actuator, which in turn moves a component such as a brake. The adverse effect would be similar when they flip the switch back; the pressure is released from the actuator, and thus the brake as well.
Early aircraft utilized hydraulic systems for components such as brakes, and as engineering improved, more functions became reliant on them. Hydraulic systems are fairly cost effective and can be very reliable. With many important functionalities made possible with hydraulic systems, the maintenance of them is critical.
Hydraulic fluid is an important factor to the entire system as that is what is used to transmit the pressure, and serve as a lubricant for system components. It is crucial that these fluids are incompressible, have low freezing points, high boiling points, anti-corrosiveness, fire resistance, and are of appropriate viscosity to function correctly and not face adverse issues during operation. Motors work to take the pressure from hydraulics and convert it to powerful torque with rotational motion.
With all of these various uses of hydraulic systems and their components, their functionality must remain impeccable, and maintenance of them are of the utmost importance. There is also hydraulic ground support system equipment along with the systems within the aircraft that must also be maintained. With servicing and functionality of hydraulic systems, proper operation and safety can be maintained in aircraft during use.
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