Double Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

A double-acting hydraulic cylinder is a cylinder in which the working fluid acts alternately on both sides of the piston. It has a port at each end, supplied with hydraulic fluid for both the retraction and extension of the piston. A double-acting cylinder is used where an external force is not available to retract the piston or where high force is required in both directions of travel.

Double Acting CylinderDouble Acting Cylinder 1The double acting cylinder is more common than the single acting cylinder (see below). It works at any angle and in almost any application where hydraulic power is needed. Even with applications where gravity (or weight) can assist retraction, hydraulic pressure is often applied to control acceleration, change the rate of travel and cushion the stoppage.

Travel in one direction always differs from travel in the other, all things being equal; the push action requires more force and is slower but more work output is generated. The pulling action is faster, but less work output is created.

With a single-acting cylinder when fluid flow is applied to a port in the closed end, the shaft extends until the collar or piston reaches the shaft end. When an external weight or load is placed on the shaft, the shaft will retract into the chamber until the piston or collar reaches the closed end. The cylinder will produce an output force at the shaft end in proportion to its internal closed end area multiplied times the pressure potential of the fluid power system.

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