When you look at large, powerful pieces of machinery, specifically construction equipment, you see that each is unique in its own purpose. But one feature that unites most of these machines is that they are powered by moving liquids! This technology is called hydraulics, and it's used to power everything from car brakes and garbage trucks to motorboat steering and garage jacks.
We know that solids, liquids, and gases have very distinct physical properties and each obey their own laws of physics, but how does that play into the science of hydraulics? Let’s take a closer look!
You can even experiment with hydraulics yourself! Try making a hydraulic lifter like the one in this experiment using some tubing and a few household items. The pressure from the tube is enough to force water into the balloon. Filling the balloon can lift a tin can, which is strong enough to hold the weight of a book!
“Hands-On Hydraulics: Science Fun for Kids.” Navigating by Joy, 29 September, 2013. http://www.navigatingbyjoy.com/2013/09/29/hands-on-hydraulics-science-fun-for-kids/
Brennan, Paul. “Shipyard Crane”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 8/31/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
“Jumping Jack: Dog Jumping into Water”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 9/1/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
Stachowiak, Kai. “Syringe”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 9/1/17 from publicdomainpictures.net. Image modified by Erin Nyren.
Brennan, Paul. “Construction Site”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 9/1/17 from publicdomainpictures.net