Robotics for kids

Hydraulic machine

Have you ever wondered how elevators work? Have you seen how car jacks lift cars up when they need repair? All these systems are involved in the transmission of power and help us perform otherwise cumbersome activities efficiently.

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Such systems prevent us from having to exert more physical force. Asking questions is the best way to inculcate curiosity and learn new things. This is very vital for school students because it makes them explore and understand new things. This time around, let us take a look at a simple school science project that will help students understand how elevators and carjacks function.

Project Description

Hydraulic systems make use of high-pressure fluids to transmit power and use that power to move objects, lift things and magnify forces. There are several types of hydraulic machines which utilize different types of fluids to transmit forces. While specific devices make use of water, others employ a more viscous liquid to magnify forces acting on the machine. In this project, we aim to build a simple hydraulic lift using cardboard and syringes, which use water to lift small objects.

Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic operations employ pressurized liquid to transfer forces. We can use materials that are easily found around us to create a simple hydraulic actuator. This model will help students understand the principle of operation of such machines, and is a good way for them to start analyzing how devices they see around them actually work.

Most construction equipment companies use hydraulic actuators to erect the large structures we see around us. Everything from a JCB to a ram that has cylindrical parts that control shovels and blades makes use of hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Project Implementation

  • First and foremost, remove the needles from all the syringes carefully, and dispose of them.
  • Make sure you are exceptionally careful while removing the needles so that you don't get hurt in the process.
  • Next, fill the syringes with either water or vegetable oil. The benefit of using oil is that your device will have more power and will be able to lift more massive objects because oil is more viscous than water.
  • Drip the syringe nozzle into a container full of oil/water, and then pull the plunger till the oil makes its way at least half-way up the syringe.

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  • Ensure no bubbles have been caught inside the syringe as this leads to leakages.
  • In case there is a bubble, empty the nozzle and re-fill the syringe.
  • The syringes work like a single-acting hydraulic actuator, which pushes something one way when a force is provided via the plunger.
  • Wipe away excess oil using a towel and tighten the plunger within the syringe.
  • Now attach the rubber tubing to the nozzle of the syringe. In case they don't fit properly, leave the pipe in hot water for a while to expand the opening and try again.
  • Use pliers and straighten out the bends in the tube straps so that they resemble a clean U.
  • Assemble the cardboard/cut the wood into the appropriate size for the base.
  • On the dowel, cut grooves so that it can hold the syringe. On both ends of the stick as well, cut small grooves to fit it onto the device.
  • Make the required holes in the cardboard/wool. Assemble the structure so that it resembles a crane, with the base shaped like an L.
  • Connect using the washer and screw arrangement.
  • Attach the syringe with the tubing to the bottom part of the hanging arm on the base, so that when the syringe moves, the arm goes up and down along with it.
  • The actuator can be fixed in place using the U-shaped tube holders we made earlier.
  • Use the small dowel sticks as fingers for your arms, and attach a syringe over there as well to control the fingers.

Concepts Used

  • Basic Mechanics
  • Dynamics of Machinery
  • Kinematics of Machinery
  • Power Transmission
  • Energy Transfer

Components Required

  1. 20 ml Syringes
  2. 100 ml Syringes
  3. Rubber tubing
  4. Vegetable oil/water
  5. Cardboard/Wood
  6. Flat washer
  7. Machine screws
  8. Tube straps
  9. Round dowels or sticks

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Hydraulic machine
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-19

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