Pressure, flow rates, volume, and leaks are essential aspects of fluid mechanics, both as measurements and parameters to control. But, there is much more to this field than just these. For example, many people don’t realize that fluid mechanics is considered one sub-branch of mechanical engineering. Also, the fluid mechanics’ industry deals with much more than just water. It often includes oil, solvents, fuels, and other chemicals.
Pneumatics has many shared characteristics with fluid mechanics but deals with gas instead of liquid. In the case study here, we describe a hybrid system of oil-based hydraulics and air-based pneumatics we developed to solve a very challenging set of test requirements.
Many people believe that only gas is compressible, but we’ve worked with water at 80K PSI, and it compresses, too. There are many ways to sense leaks in a fluid mechanics system, such as pressure drop or detecting liquid in a drip pan. But, it turns out the best way to catch a leak at these sorts of pressures is by measuring temperature. Not the drop in temperature due to decompression. The incredible heat generated by the friction of high-pressure liquid squirting through a (hopefully) tiny leak.
We know these things not just because we have multiple engineers with mechanical engineering degrees, including at the Ph.D. level, but because we have successfully delivered many projects with a significant fluid mechanics component. It has proven to be a potent mix of “book knowledge” and practical experience.
Our fluid mechanics’ experience extends beyond these basics to include our considerable expertise in automated data acquisition (DAQ) and control. For example, a common mistake we see is a client selecting a flow meter that provides measurements as pulse-width-modulated (PWM) signals. It might save a few bucks on the sensor (because it’s easier for the sensor manufacturer). However, it often requires a more significant investment in DAQ equipment and more software development time. Those extra investments quite often dwarf the cost savings on the sensor.
That is just one of the advantages of working with a systems integrator, like Computer Solutions. We consider the entire system, enabling these sorts of trade-offs that can save you money, improve performance, and provide you with a one-stop solution to your automation challenges. To more-fully leverage this advantage, we highly recommend you involve us as early in the project as possible.
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