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It’s not long before hydraulic components start to wear down. In fact, just as soon as you’ve removed them from the wrapper and installed them. Once your system starts to run then you’re going to notice them go through one of the following processes on their life cycle:
Wear down from abrasion – this is when the lubricated surface starts to get scuffed. It might be because two lubricated surfaces are rubbing, or even have a tiny particle stuck between them. This is why lubrication is essential to prevent wear.
Wear from adhesion – this can occur when the two lubricated surfaces continue to scuff together due to lack of lubrication and they begin to create heat from friction. If the heat is high then they will start to weld together causing more damage.
Wear from fatigue – this will usually occur to gears and bearings. Not being even and enduring point loading can result in the components’ surface deforming. This can then lead to cracking and breaking away.
Erosion – this happens where there are large amounts of hard particles that are silt-sized. It works like an abrasive slurry as it passes components at high velocity. It will polish and erode surfaces increasing the distance between them over time.
Cavitation – air or oil vapour bubbles form and then collapse under pressure. This tiny jet that is caused by this collapse has unseen destructive power – which is enough to make a dent in steel. Air bubbles and vapour developing and collapsing causes big trouble for any metal surface.
Corrosion – rusting is an example of corrosion. This is worse when hydraulic oil has degraded due to either heat or water. Acids can also attack metals in particular if water is present.
It’s important for any hydraulic system user or owner to minimise the effects that these types of wear can deliver. Otherwise it’s going to cost a lot of unnecessary expense and damage to your hydraulic system.
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