Be sure to review the EMDC Handbook for specific rules related to fluid power components.
A fluid power component in a chain reaction machine refers to a module or device that utilizes the power of fluids, such as liquids or gases, to generate mechanical motion or force. These components often rely on principles of fluid dynamics and the transmission of forces through fluid pressure. Fluid power should not be confused with hydropower which uses power derived from moving water.
Hydraulics are a perfect example of a fluid powered component. When one cylinder is compressed, it moves the fluid into another cylinder causing it to move (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). Hydraulics are used in everyday devices such as the brakes on a car, gas pumps, and carnival rides. They are extremely efficient in transferring energy in a linear motion in a confined space.
The use of syringes connected with tubing is the most popular tactic for creating a simple fluid powered component. With a little creativity, by using different sized syringes or connecting multiple syringes together, teams can create unique systems. For example, cylinders (syringes) can be secured to the machine; one of the cylinders would serve as the pump, the other attached cylinder would serve as the actuator that causes the next step.
It is crucial to prioritize safety when incorporating fluid power components into a chain reaction machine design. Participants should have a good understanding of fluid power principles, including the safe handling and operation of fluids under pressure. They should also follow safety guidelines and regulations related to fluid systems, such as appropriate pressure ratings, material compatibility, and leak prevention. Providing detailed instructions, safety guidelines, and supervision during the design and construction process will help ensure a safe and successful engineering machine design contest.