School Projects on Hydraulics

Written by erik devaney
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School Projects on Hydraulics
People use hydraulic jacks to lift heavy structures. (llaves de paso image by anscario2005 from Fotolia.com)

Hydraulics is a type of technology, as well as a scientific area of study, which involves the movement of pressurised liquids through confined spaces. While it may sound like a complicated or uncommon occurrence, hydraulics is all around you, and even in you. Many machines, like cars, utilise hydraulics to achieve certain functions, and you own body relies on it to pump blood through veins and arteries. If you want to learn more about hydraulics, try completing a school project on the subject.

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Hydraulic Pressure

The objective of this project is to demonstrate how hydraulics can produce an instantaneous force, while pneumatics, or confined, pressurised gases, cannot. According to Nucleus Learning, start by filling up a blunt-tipped plastic syringe with 20ml of air, which you can accomplish by pulling back the plunger---with the syringe tip left open---until it reaches the 20-mL line. Push the syringe tip firmly up against your finger, and with your other hand, push the plunger down as far down as you can. Record the level the plunger reaches. Next, fill the syringe with 20ml of water, and repeat the process. You should notice that you can push the air down quite a bit while the water will not budge even a little. This is because the compressive nature of gasses causes a delay of action in pneumatics, while in hydraulics the action is instantaneous.

Hydraulic Jacks

People use hydraulic jacks, or lifters, to elevate incredibly heavy objects, such as trucks, buildings and other structures. According to Light-Science, as a science project, you can build your own small-scale hydraulic jack out of a plastic bottle and some other common items. Start by taping the mouth, or opening, of a plastic bag around the end of a length of tubing, so that it forms an airtight seal. Next, make a hole in the bottom of your bottle, and place your bag-and-tube unit inside. Pull the tube out through the hole you just made, and attach a funnel to its unused end. Now, place a book or other flat object of a similar weight on to the bag, and slowly add water into the funnel. The hydraulic pressure you generate will eventually cause the bag to fill with water, and your book should rise up a few inches.

Hydraulic Brakes

The objective of this project is to demonstrate how hydraulic braking systems work. According to English For Students, start by nailing a toy wheel on to a block of wood so that it can spin freely. Next, connect the tips of two water-filled syringes to a single length of plastic tubing. On one of the syringes, tape an eraser to the back of its plunger, and then tape this syringe down to a second wooden block. Arrange the blocks so that the eraser is just a few millimetres away from the wheel, and give the wheel a spin. To imitate stepping on the brake, push down the plunger on the other syringe. The hydraulic pressure should travel through the tube and push out the eraser on the other syringe's end, stopping the wheel.

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