How to Calculate Air Cylinder Lift

Written by thomas bourdin
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How to Calculate Air Cylinder Lift
Air cylinder's are powered by pistons. ( Images)

Air cylinders (also called pneumatic cylinders) are mechanical devices which produce forces which are produced by compressed air within the air cylinder. This is done by converting the potential energy of the compressed gas into kinetic energy in the form of movement from a piston. The "lift" (or force) exerted by an air cylinder is important for determining how effective the air cylinder will be for it's intended purpose. Calculating the "lift" of an air cylinder can be done in a few short steps.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Find the radius of the cylinder by measuring the diameter of the cylinder (i.e. the distance across the circular area of the cylinder) and dividing by two. For example, if the diameter is measured to be 1 meter, then the radius of the cylinder is 0.5 meters.

  2. 2

    Calculate the cross-sectional area of the cylinder. This is done by multiplying the square of the radius (i.e. multiplying the radius by itself) by the constant pi. As an example, if the radius is 0.5 meters, then the area of the cylinder will be 0.785 meters squared (m^2).

  3. 3

    Multiply the cross-sectional area of the cylinder by the gauge pressure within the cylinder (which can be measured directly from the cylinder). Concluding the example, multiplying 0.785m^2 by 30 Pascals (the unit of measurement of pressure) gives 23.6 Newtons. This is the lift of the air cylinder.

Tips and warnings

  • When making long calculations, keep as many significant digits as possible throughout the calculation and only round during the final calculation.

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