Basic Hydraulic Principles

Simple Hydraulic System

A simple hydraulic system such as that within a hydraulic jack consists of two different sized cylinders connected by a pipe.



According to Pascal's Law, pressure exerted on the smaller piston is transmitted through the fluid to act on internal surface of the larger piston. Pressure is a property of the system (not the pistons) and is therefore experienced equally by each piston. Because each piston has a different surface area, the force exerted on each piston will be different, even though the pressure is the same.

If the larger piston is twice the area of the smaller piston then the force on the larger piston will be twice as great. In order to create that extra force, the smaller piston has to be moved by twice the distance.

Joseph Barmah applied his understanding of this principle when he patented the Bramah Press in 1795.

For the demonstration of how a simple hydraulic system works, Sphaera's interactive instructor-led CBT is simple yet effective. Buttons on screen provide the instructor with full control over the amount of force applied whilst pressure and force are clearly indicated numerically and through use of colour. Systems of different piston ratios are available.

Simple Hydraulic System

A simple hydraulic system.

More Basic Hydraulics Training Material

For instructors, schools and colleges, Sphaera has developed a range of affordable interactive instructor-led CBT, available individually or as a complete pack.

Click on the links below for more information:


Pascal's Law

A demonstration of Pascal's Law...

Hydraulic Pressure and Force

The relationship between hydraulic pressure and force...

Simple Hydraulic System

How a simple hydraulic system works...


Hydraulic Brakes

NEXT: An example of a simple interactive hydraulic braking system...

Hydraulic Swash Plate Pump

How a hydraulic swash plate pump works...

Hydraulic NRV (non-return valve)

Operation of a hydraulic NRV (non-return valve)...



These and other similar classroom training products can be purchased online now by visiting our training products list.

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