What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydraulics?

Hydraulic machines provide a simple and powerful means of controlling motion, but they are often bulky and slow. Their durability makes them popular on aircraft and other large machines. However, they are vulnerable to leaks.

Hydraulic systems use incompressible liquids to move around energy. Because they contain few moving parts and can operate for an extended period of time with little maintenance, they are a popular means of controlling motion. By using liquid-filled pipes and hoses, hydraulic systems also move energy across long distances without the need of rigid structures.

However, hydraulic systems are often slow, and they can be bulky when compared to electrical components. Although hydraulic systems are reliable when they are intact, the loss of hydraulic liquid can cause them to cease working entirely. Protecting areas hydraulic liquid travels through is important for keeping hydraulic systems working properly.

Hydraulic systems are popular in vehicles. Cars use hydraulic fluid for power steering and power braking. They are also used on aircraft, and all airliners use extensive hydraulic systems. While these systems are durable and able to withstand the rigors of flight, they also require the running of vulnerable hydraulic lines. If these lines break, aircraft can become difficult or even impossible to control.