A Proposal for Modelling Fluid Power Systems
As a young engineering student many years ago, I was taught that an electrical energy source was comprised of an ideal generating element in series with an output impedance. The output impedance accounts for the fact that an internal voltage drop causes the output voltage to fall as load current is increased. It did not occur to me that this was, in reality, a simple mathematical model of a real generator. Only after being exposed to hydraulic circuits and symbols did I realize that they offer no clues as to how the system inefficiencies operate to affect overall system performance. The analytical aspects of the componentry were, at best, only implicit in the symbology. This is clearly inadequate for mathematical modelling of the system.
Component and system modelling is vital when attempting to design or simulate system performance by computer for modelling fluid power systems. The computer functions by solving the many equations that explicitly interconnect all the pressures, flows, velocities and forces within and among the various components that make up the system. The ability to mathematically model a hydraulic system remains an arcane technical specialty. Yet, the need to expedite design and convert it quickly—without undue trial-and-error—into real working hardware is vital to the present and future competitiveness of hydraulic machinery. The only way to expedite design is by computer-aided design and simulation, which demands that there be a routine conversion of hydraulic components into useful mathematical models.
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