Every piston engine, also called a reciprocating engine, has cylinders that are pushed by a fluid through its body, the actuator. The pressure is generated through the introduction of the fluid into the cylinder which pushes on the piston.
In a single acting cylinder, only one side of the piston system pushes the cylinder that extends a shaft. This is the point where the transfer of power from fluid to mechanical happens.
The other side of the cylinder is composed of a mechanical load that’s either a spring, compressed air, other cylinders or the momentum of the flywheel that pushes the piston back in the other direction.
So, as fluid enters through an inlet port on one side of the cylinder, fluid pressure builds up which then pushes in one direction. This pushes on the piston, compressing the other side of the system. The pushing of the piston, in turn, extends a rod at the other end of the cylinder, completing half cycle of force, transferring power from one location to another.
The return cycle begins when the control valve directs the fluid in the cylinder out, reducing fluid pressure. The spring then pushes the piston back to the other end of the cylinder while pulling in the rod. That completes the work cycle of a single-acting cylinder.
Single acting cylinders are preferred for their tendency to be fail-safe, the ability to reset to its starting position by itself requires fewer parts and easier to control. If you’ve got questions on single acting cylinders, give us a call at 800-737-8988.
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