Hydraulic machines make use of fluid power in order to do mechanical work. The concept is that high-pressure liquid gets into the motors and cylinders of the machine. To do this, the entire set up makes use of a series of control valves, hoses and tubes to route the hydraulic fluid. Because the idea of doing mechanical work with the use of fluid can be visually interesting to students, hydraulics-based projects are common science fair project choices.
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Simple Hydraulic Machine
This kind of science project is appropriate for grade school students. Creating a simple hydraulic machine can be very fascinating among fourth or fifth graders, but may not be challenging enough for those who are in junior high or high school. The process of making a simple hydraulic machine uses the same concept of industrial hydraulics but employs materials you have lying around the house. Students need an airtight plastic bag, large plastic bottle, plastic tube, plastic funnel, spray can lid, heavy book and a pitcher of water. The concept is that as the plastic bag fills with water, it expands and effectively lifts objects.
A crane is an example of a hydraulic machine. Producing a small version of a hydraulic crane is relatively, and the advantage is that students see for themselves how high-pressure liquid is applied in day-to-day life. For this project, students need eight 30-milliliter syringes, dialysis tubing, wood for the base, anchors for the tubing, a bottle, a scoop, screws, nails, nuts and bolts. Draw a graphic crane design and construct the design using wood. Remember to ensure the connections easily rotate. Attach the scoop to the end of the crane with a bottle filled with water attached to the other end. Use the syringes and plastic tubing to create a hydraulic system. You can use U-type anchors to attach the syringe to the plastic tubing.
Hydraulic brake systems are rather difficult to understand, which is why this project is appropriate for students at higher levels. For this project, you need disposable syringes, rubber tubes, a toy wheel, a pencil eraser and wooden blocks. Secure the toy wheel to the wooden block, making sure the wheel can still revolve freely. Fill two syringes with water and attach them to both ends of the rubber tubing. Take one syringe and place a piece of rubber eraser in the end of the piston, then attach that syringe properly on another wooden block. Assemble the entire thing so that when you press the piston on the free syringe the second syringe fills with the displaced water until the eraser in the second syringe stops the wheel from rotating.
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