Why Water-based Hydraulic System? Why not?

Hydraulic machines are machinery and tools that use liquid fluid power to do works. Hydraulic fluid is transmitted throughout the machine to various hydraulic motors and hydraulic cylinders and is controlled by control valves and distributed through hoses and tubes. The beauty of hydraulic systems is due to the capability of creating large amount of power by using small tubes and flexible hoses. Hydraulic machines are normally filled with oil as liquid fluid to transmit power. In water hydraulic systems, water is used instead of oil as pressure medium. In this post, I highlighted the advantage of using water instead of oil as pressure medium.

Although water hydraulic systems are more expensive than oil ones, there are several advantages that ingratiate using of water instead of oil in hydraulic systems. The first and the most advantage of water hydraulics is their fire resistance. Using water for hydraulic systems is specially a great safety advantage for those industries that they need to have high voltage electricity next to their hydraulic systems.  Moreover, water is more available, cheaper, and requires much less purification than oil. Considering environmental concerns, water hydraulics systems provide an environmentally friendly and less-costly to recycle alternative compare to oil-based hydraulics systems.

Water was the first medium ever used in simple hydraulics systems over 2000 years ago. However, the use of water as a pressure medium was declined in 20th century due to following reasons:

  • Corrosion in piping and components due to the micro-organism in water
  • Freezing of water under 0 °C
  • Water based hydraulic systems need more sealing for the internal and external leakage of water due to lower viscosity
  • The severity to control water hammer effect even though it makes the water hydraulic system more accurate
  • Poor lubrication of water limits its application for high load and high speed applications.

Many researches developed different solutions to overcome shortcoming of water hydraulic systems. Is water hydraulic a right solution for your business? Please message me here or on my LinkedIn to find potential use of water-based hydraulic systems for your business.


Hydraulics & Pneumatics

Water Hydraulics – Theory and Applications by Gary W. Krutz and Patrick S. K. Chua



Author: Amin Sabzehzar

MBA student Mechanical Engineer University of Nevada, Reno

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