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A hydraulic press is a machine that uses pressurised liquid to create force. These machines are composed of a simple cylinder and piston mechanism. The press consists of a large cylinder, with a large piston, and a small cylinder and a small piston. The large cylinder and the small cylinder are connected to one another by means of a pipe. The two cylinders, and the pipe connecting them, are filled with a liquid. At this point, the function of the hydraulic press depends on Pascal's Principle.
Pascal's Principle states that when pressure is added to a liquid at rest, there is an identical increase in pressure at all points. Applying this principle to the hydraulic press means that any force that is added to the piston in the smaller cylinder will be transferred to the piston in the larger cylinder, in a proportionally increased level of force. This allows a hydraulic press to produce a great deal of force from the application of a small amount of force to the small piston.
The increase of the force produced by the larger piston is proportionally larger than the force exerted on the small piston. The amount of increase depends on the ratio of the sizes of the pistons. The ratio of the areas of the two pistons is multiplied by the amount of force applied to the small piston to determine the amount of force that the large piston can produce. For example, if the ratio of the sizes of the two pistons is 10, and the amount of force applied to the small piston is 50 newtons, the amount of force that the large piston will produce is 500 newtons.
Hydraulic presses can be used in any task that requires a large amount of force. These can include any type of lifting as well, since the hydraulic press can work as a type of lever. These presses are the most efficient contemporary press, as well as the most common.