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Hydraulic Valves: Introduction

In hydraulic systems, energy is transferred between the pump and consuming device along appropriate lines. In order to attain the required values force or torque, velocity or r.p.m. operation sequence and to maintain the prescribed operating conditions for the system, valves are installed in the lines as energy control components. These valves control or regulate the pressure and the flow rate. In addition, each valve represents a resistance.

Valve Sizes
The size of valve is determined by the following characteristic values: Nominal size NW Nominal diameter in mm 4; 6; 10; 16; 20; 22; 25; 30; 32; 40; 50; 52; 63; 82; 100; 102. Nominal pressure NP (operating pressure) Pressure at which hydraulic devices and systems are designed to work. Pressure stages, e.g., 25; 40; 63; 100; 160; 200; 250; 315; 400; 500; 630 bar. Nominal flow Quantity of oil (l/min) that flows through the valve at a pressure loss of p = 1 bar (oil viscosity 35 mm2/s at 40 C). Maximum flow The largest quantity of oil (l/min) which can flow through the valve with correspondingly large pressure losses.

Viscosity range e.g. 20 230 mm2/s (cSt); Hydraulic fluid temperature range e.g. 10 80 C;

This is beside the p-Q characteristic curve. For example the figure shows the p-Q characteristic curve for a 4/2-way valve NW 6.

Various aspects are taken into consideration when classifying valves: Function Pressure valves Directional control valves Non-return valves Flow control valves. Poppet valves In poppet valves a ball, cone, or occasionally a disk, is pressed against the seat area as a closing element. Method of actuation Mechanical Electrical Hydraulic (pilot) Design Poppet valves Spool valves

In the case of some types of poppet valve, the actuating force, which is dependent on pressure and area, may be very great. To avoid this, there must be pressure compensation at the valves (right-hand diagram). However, in most cases, it is not possible to design poppet valves to incorporate pressure compensation. For this reason, high switching forces are required for actuation which must be overcome by lever transmission or pilot control.

According to the poppet principle, a maximum of three paths can be opened to a device by a control element. This means that a valve which has more than three paths must be constructed from a number of control elements. A 4/2-way valve on the poppet principle may consist internally of two 3/2-way valves.

Spool valves

The spool valve consists of one or more connected pistons which are axially displaced in a cylindrical drilled hole. The radial clearance between the spool and cylindrical drilled hole is usually less than 0.03 mm. Moving these pistons within the spool valves can open up, connect together or close any number of connection channels.
To actuate spool valves, it is only necessary to overcome the frictional and spring forces. Forces resulting from the existing pressure are balanced out by the opposing surfaces. To prevent the piston being pressed against the side, the piston skirt area is provided with circular grooves. When the piston is shifted, only fluid friction arises.

A spool must be installed with a certain amount of clearance. This clearance results in continuous leakage which causes losses in the volumetric flow rate at the valve. The spring chamber therefore must be connected with a leakage oil line. The leakage will increase with spool wear and is an indication of the valve condition. Good filtration will reduce wear. If the hydraulic oil is contaminated, dirt particles appear between the spool and bore. They act as abrasives and cause the bore to be enlarged. This results in increased leakage. Also, dirt particles can make the valve only partially closes resulting in cavitation.

Control edges The control edges of the piston are often either sharp, chamfered or notched. This profiling of the control edge has the effect that there is gradual rather than sudden throttling of the flow on switching.