The Ultimate Guide to Hydraulic Accumulators

Hydraulic accumulators are energy-storing or “vitality-stockpiling” devices akin to rechargeable batteries in electrical systems. They are designed to store energy provided by pressurized fluid whenever needed which can be later extracted as required, making them an indispensable tool for efficient aircraft hydraulic systems used in landing gear. The advantages of using hydraulic accumulators include, but are not restricted to, lesser power requirements, reductions in systemic heat, and readily available energy. Thus, seeing how accumulators can be beneficial in contributing to aircraft efficiency, learning about them is imperative.

Working Principle of Hydraulic Accumulators

Hydraulic accumulators are cylindrical storage units with metal casings affixed within hydraulic systems, and they are usually filled with non-toxic and non-reactive gasses such as nitrogen. Resembling a cylindrical chamber containing a piston, accumulators are made of durable metals such as aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, or fiber-reinforced composites. A pressure vessel holds the gas and a moderately-compressible hydraulic fluid, such as oil or water, separated by a rubber bladder or a piston. Furthermore, some accumulators also contain a spring that can be compressed either pneumatically or through a calculated weight.

Engineers exploit the property of compressible nitrogenous gas against the moderately-compressible, pressure-driven oil held separately within the accumulator. When in operation, definitive parameters will determine the computational weight and amount of gas to be stored in the accumulator. Once gas gets pumped within the accumulator’s container, it builds up pressure at a fixed volume. Apart from acting as a reserve for energy storage, hydraulic accumulators also help power chassis suspensions, deflate pressure peaks, and work to absorb vibration, shock, and pulses.

Types of Hydraulic Accumulators

Depending on their intended application, hydraulic accumulators are categorized into the following types:

  • Bladder Accumulators: Bladder accumulators are designed with large ports which enable rapid fluid discharge while being mounted vertically or on their side during low-cycle applications. They are also available in various sizes, and being resistant to contamination, their rapid response time makes them ideal for shock absorption. Moreover, a rechargeable/replaceable vulcanized gas valve assembly is often used to fasten the bladder within the steel shell.

  • Piston Accumulators: Piston accumulators are designed to handle tremendous working pressures above 10,000 PSI, and they have a high fluid storage capacity of up to 2,500 liters. Furthermore, they are available in capacities ranging from 10 cubic inches to 100 gallons with nominal flow rates, making them ideal for various accumulator types. While other hydraulic accumulators may use a bladder or a diaphragm as a separating element, piston accumulators require higher levels of fluid cleanliness to mitigate hydraulic fluid contamination. Piston accumulators are manufactured in various sizes to suit the many applications they can perform, especially those dealing with extreme compression ratios, external pressures, and high temperatures, apart from general versatility.

  • Weight-Loaded Accumulators: Weight-loaded accumulators are historically one of the oldest accumulator designs, consisting of a vertical steel cylinder incorporating leak-proof piston-packing. The gravitational force acting on the deadweight attached to the piston’s top provides potential energy needed by the accumulator to create a constant and uniform fluid pressure. Constant pressure is applied throughout the unit’s entire volume, regardless of its quantity and rate. However, their weight and large size are some of the drawbacks of weight-loaded accumulators, restricting their applicability to specific industries, such as in rolling mills.

Maintenance Considerations for Hydraulic Accumulators

Hydraulic accumulators in the United States are manufactured and certified according to the statutory precedents set by ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code VIII, Division 1. All components covered under this code serve a finite service life and should only be handled by trained personnel. In addition, performing any welding on an accumulator shell is strictly prohibited, alongside installing any automotive valve cores in lieu of high-pressure alternatives. Furthermore, hydraulic fluid in use should be kept clean to extend the life of the seal and all other accompanying components.

To Conclude

If you are looking for the best suppliers of high-quality, sophisticated hydraulic accumulators, we at Methodical Purchasing would be more than happy to help. We stock our exhaustive inventory of over 2 billion products with only the best NSN, aircraft, and IT hardware parts on the market, those of which including quality-tested, expert-approved hydraulic accumulators that you may be looking for. We encourage you to get started on the procurement process by taking advantage of our Instant RFQ service provided on our website, and within 15 minutes of submitting a request, a dedicated account representative will contact you with a comprehensive quote for your comparisons.


November 23, 2022

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