What Is A Pneumatic System vs. Hydraulic?

A pneumatic system operates under the same principles as a hydraulic system, however a pneumatic system utilizes a gas rather than a liquid. Compressed air is generally used, although nitrogen or other inert gasses can also be utilized for certain applications. With pneumatics, free air is typically drawn into a compressor where it is compressed and then stored in a receiving tank. The receiver holds a vast volume of compressed air to be consumed by the pneumatics framework as required. Environmental air contains airborne particles, water vapor, and various other contaminants, so filters and air dryers are regularly utilized as a part of a pneumatics framework to keep compressed air clean and dry. This enhances the dependability and service life of the various components of the pneumatic system. A pneumatics framework also utilizes an assortment of valves and regulators for controlling direction, pressure, and speed of actuators.

Most pneumatic systems work at pressures of around 100 psi or less, which is typically much lower than hydraulic systems. Due to the lower pressure, pneumatic cylinders and actuators can achieve the same force as their hydraulic counterparts by either being larger in diameter, or by utilizing more than one cylinder in tandem. For instance, a hydraulic cylinder with a 2 in. diameter piston (3.14 sq. in. area) and fluid pressure of 1,000 psi can push with 3140 lbs. of force. A pneumatic cylinder using 100 psi air would need a bore diameter of almost 6½ in. (33 sq. in.) to develop the same force.

Despite the fact that pneumatic frameworks typically work at much lower pressure than hydraulic frameworks do, pneumatics holds many favorable circumstances that make it more appropriate for many applications. Since pneumatic pressures are lower, parts can be made of thinner and lighter weight materials, for example, aluminum and composite plastics, while hydraulic components are for the most part made of steel and iron. Hydraulic frameworks are regularly viewed as rigid due to the inelasticity of liquids, while pneumatic frameworks typically offer some padding, or “give” due to the elasticity of gasses. Pneumatic frameworks are by and large less complex since air can be exhausted to the atmosphere, while hydraulic liquids are more often than not directed back to the supply reservoir. To read more from NFPA “National Fluid Power Association” What are Pneumatics?

Scroll to top