Jack Johnson is an electrohydraulic specialist, fluid power engineering consultant, and president of IDAS Engineering Inc., Milwaukee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone (414) 236-5350, or visit www.idaseng.com.
Lenz’s Law explains more than just the “speed voltage,” which also happens to be another moniker for that law. It says an induced voltage will occur anytime there’s relative motion between the conductor and the magnetic field.
An open electrical switch blocks current, whereas a closed switch conducts. A closed hydraulic valve blocks flow, but an open valve allows flow. These are clearly contradictory analogies that are often confounding to those who are seeking to cross-fertilize, so to speak, and learn the other language and concepts. There is a method to this madness, or at least an explanation, that belongs in the pantheon of “No wonder we don’t understand each other.”
Last month’s discussion illustrates how voltage and pressure provide the motivating forces for their respective fundamental elements — electrons and molecules of fluid. Voltage is a measure of the difference in potential energy per unit of charge between two points in a circuit or some other electrical space. The unit of voltage is the volt. Voltage is the energy per unit of electrical charge, measured as Newton-meter per coulomb. What’s important is the force element (Newton).
Most technical people working in the fluid power industry have roots either in the mechanical realm or the electrical realm. Those who consider themselves “mechanically inclined” often struggle with understanding of electrical concepts. Likewise, those well versed in electrical science are often faced with terminology in fluid power that is inconsistent with their knowledge.