Misalignment effects on the load capacity of a hydraulic cylinder

Analytical and experimental investigations of typical hydraulic cylinders have indicated that their load capacities are significantly different from those obtained from simple buckling analysis of idealized systems. In any case, an increase in the friction coefficient at the restrained ends changes the actuator's limit load, while an increase in the initial maximum deflection (initial misalignment) decreases the limit load. A common practice of most cylinder manufacturers is to use a safety factor (between 2.5 and 4) to determine the service load after the critical load (buckling) is obtained by simple analytical procedures treating the cylinder as a perfect stepped column. The intricate aspects of friction effects have been deliberately left aside. Nevertheless, friction and interaction between mechanism and actuator in the buckling characteristics will be presented. In a real system, the cylinder tube-rod interface is not rigid. Due to the flexibility of guide rings and clearances between components, misalignment (an angular deflection which increases with increasing axial load) exits at the interface. When initial imperfection angle exists, there is no sudden buckling. Then, stresses and deflections increase with increasing load. After repetitive use, the tolerance between the parts will become larger, consequently increasing the initial deflection, which has been proved to considerably decrease the load capacities of the power cylinders. From this analysis, a theoretical and experimental work has been carried out in order to show the advantages and disadvantages of the current design methods, characterizing the critical factors that cause the collapse and proposing useful design criterions. 



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