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Reservoir, Hydraulic - Sizing This module outlines an approach to compute reservoir capacity and to determine the required pressurization

level for fluid in the reservoir. Reservoir Capacity The main aspect in sizing a reservoir is ensuring there is sufficient fluid to handle systems during all normal operation (both flight and ground conditions) and any relevant system failure conditions. In a reservoir, there are five volume definitions and calculations that need to be computed (four for bootstrap or spring/piston reservoirs). These five components are 1. Unused Fluid Volume 2. Minimum Required Fluid Volume (Refill Volume) 3. Full Fluid Volume 4. Maximum Required Fluid Volume 5. Gas Volume (for gas reservoirs) These volumes are shown graphically in Figure 1 for a pressurized gas reservoir and Figure 2 for a bootstrap reservoir. A piston/spring reservoir or a metal bellows accumulator will be similar to a bootstrap reservoir. Also shown in Figures 1 and 2 are the indication messages associated with certain volume levels.

Figure 1

Pressurized Gas Reservoir Fluid Volumes and Indications

Figure 2

Pressurized Gas Reservoir Fluid Volumes and Indications

Unused volume would include the volume of fluid that is in the reservoir which is not available to the outlet line to the pump. For example, if a stand pipe is used in the reservoir and the stand pipe protrudes above the lowest level of the reservoir then fluid would be caught below the inlet to the stand pipe and would be unavailable to the system. In some accumulator designs, the unused volume may be very small or even zero. The range of vehicle attitudes and maneuvering should be evaluated when determining unused volume. The next category is the minimum fluid increment. The majority of the fluid will be contained in the minimum required fluid category. This volume that makes up minimum required fluid consists of many facets as listed below. The minimum fluid volume is the summation of these facets. A nominal fluid temperature (say, 70F) should be used when computing the individual minimum volume facets. In addition, the hydraulic system configuration should be a fixed configuration for the computations (for example, landing gear deployed, spoilers retracted, park brake on, and flight surfaces in the neutral position). The chosen configuration should represent a common ground configuration that would be used for routine maintenance. 1. Normal Operation This is the amount of fluid required in the reservoir to ensure the reservoir can meet pump needs under all foreseeable operating conditions. There are two aspects to normal operation computation. The first aspect is the amount of fluid that needs to be in the reservoir so that the reservoir meets the pump inlet pressure requirements. The second aspect is differences in fluid level due to vehicle attitude and accelerations, and the corresponding impact on pump inlet flow and pressure For example, if a flight vehicle is at a 30 degree roll angle, then the fluid level should be sufficient to maintain fluid pressure and fluid at the pump outlet port. Computation of the normal operation fluid volume is dependent on the design of a particular reservoir. 2. Unbalanced Actuators Unbalanced actuators, when extended, require more flow from the pump then they return to the reservoir. Examples of unbalanced actuators are spoiler panel, landing gear and thrust reverser actuators. When looking at unbalanced actuators, all inflight scenarios

and ground servicing scenarios should be examined. When in flight, it may be unreasonable to assume all unbalanced actuators are extended. Therefore, each flight condition should be examined as well as critical failure conditions. A potential critical condition for many aircraft would be landing where landing gear is extended, flaps are deployed, thrust reversers are deployed and brakes are operating (brake pistons extended). Ground servicing conditions should be identified using worst case expected maintenance conditions based on maintenance manual procedures. 3. Accumulator Filling When pressurizing a system that has been depressurized, the accumulators will need to be filled with hydraulic fluid. For example, with a gas bag accumulator the gas bag will be fully expanded when the system is depressurized. When computing the accumulator component of minimum volume, military specifications recommend the calculations assume the largest accumulator gas precharge is zero and the remaining accumulators are at their minimal volume (minimal precharge pressure). In systems with a single accumulator, the volume calculation should assume the accumulator precharge is zero (i.e., hydraulic fluid will fill the entire volume of the accumulator). 4. Hydraulic Fuses Most hydraulic fuses are volume based so that they will shut flow off when a volumetric flow is exceeded. When the fuse shuts flow off, a certain volume of fluid must flow into the fuse. The volume of fluid that flows into a fuse when it closes should be included in the minimum required volume calculation. However, it may be unrealistic to include all fuses in this calculation. As a general rule, the worst case combination of hydraulic fuse volume that does not represent an extremely improbable failure condition should be used. Military specifications suggest using 130% of fuse volumes for all fuses considered under the worst case operational scenario. 5. Thermal Contraction As the hydraulic fluid gets cold, the fluid will contract and reduce the fluid level in the reservoir. The total fluid volume due to contraction thermal should be computed using a delta temperature from the nominal temperature (say, 70F) to the worst case cold temperature or -40F, whichever is worse. 6. Leak Detect System Some leak detect systems only provide detection at discrete increments of reservoir volume through either the use of switches, switch variation (including installation variation) or sensor thresholds/detection time delays when using continuous sensors. The amount of the largest discrete increment should be included in the minimum volume. 7. Fluid Expansion Due to Pressure When fluid goes from low pressure (return pressure) to full system pressure, pipes, hoses, external seals and components will undergo some expansion. An estimate of this expansion should be made and included in the minimum volume requirement. 8. Emergency Reserve If any emergency reserve feature is used in a reservoir, then the amount of volume required for emergency system operation should be included in the minimum required volume calculation. Military specifications suggest 125% of the computed emergency reserve be included in the minimum required accumulator volume. Emergency reserve determination should assume no flow back to reservoir. If a bootstrap reservoir is used, then the emergency reserve needs to be contained in a separate reservoir and this volume does not need to be included in the main reservoir calculation. The minimum volume can also be considered a refill volume. When the fluid level drops below the minimum volume, the indication system should indicate a need to fill the reservoir. The full volume is the minimum fluid volume plus an amount for leakage. Leakage for this calculation is the expected system leakage (normal leakage) over the desired maintenance interval of the system. As a guideline, military specifications recommend the leakage volume be a minimum of 5% of the total reservoir volume. At the full volume level, the reservoir indication system should indicate the reservoir is full. When the fluid level is between the minimum and full fluid volumes, the indication system should indicate the reservoir level is ok. The next volume increment is maximum fluid volume. This maximum volume is greater than the full volume by the amount of fluid thermal expansion and the amount of fluid that must be absorbed by the

reservoir when unbalanced actuators are retracted (in the minimum fluid volume position). For example, when unbalanced landing gear actuators are retracted the additional fluid in the non-rod end of the actuator must be absorbed by the reservoir. Thermal expansion is computed using a delta temperature from a nominal temperature (say, 70F) to maximum system temperature. Maximum fluid volume calculations should assume the same hydraulic system configuration as used in the minimum fluid volume calculations. For a gas volume reservoir, the necessary gas volume must be computed. When computing the gas volume, there is no set formula but there are specific items to consider. First and foremost, the gas volume should be sufficient to maintain sufficient pressure on the fluid (i.e., maintain pump inlet pressure and flow) throughout the range of fluid volume (maximum volume level to minimum volume level). Ideally the gas pressure range should be reasonably constant over the operational range. Flight vehicle attitudes and acceleration limits (including negative g acceleration conditions) should be evaluated when assessing gas pressurization characteristics. Secondly, there should be no leakage of hydraulic fluid back into the gas pressurization line over the range of operation (attitudes, accelerations, negative g, etc.). Checks valves installed in the air pressurization line can help prevent fluid flow back up the air line. Lastly, the gas volume should be sufficiently large so that high inflow rates will not overpressure the reservoir and/or cause the relief valve to open. When evaluating for high inflow rates, keep in mind that the air cannot readily escape from the reservoir (wont overpower the air pressure regulator plus any check valve will also trap air in the reservoir). Therefore, large inflow rates will reduce the air volume causing the air pressure to rise. This will occur faster than the pressure regulator will respond. Military specifications require gas volumes to be a minimum 10% of total reservoir volume. Reservoir Pressure The second critical aspect in reservoir design is the determining the required pressurization. For proper operation of the pump(s), the hydraulic fluid pressure in the reservoir must be maintained between the upper and lower limits specified by the pump manufacturer. The following factors should be taken into account when determining reservoir pressure levels. 1. Minimum and maximum pump inlet pressure this is provided by the pump manufacturer and are the values required to ensure the pump meets its operating performance characteristics 2. Maximum flow rate required by all pumps fed by the reservoir this is used in computing pressure losses between reservoir and pump(s) 3. Pressure drop due to flow between the reservoir and pump(s) if reservoir feeds more than 1 pump then the worst case loss should be used. The flow rate for each tubing segment should be used when computing pressure losses. 4. Pressure drop through any fittings or components installed in the tubing between the reservoir and pump if components are only fittings and pressure loss through fittings is small (such as through swaged fittings) this portion may be small or negligible 5. Pressure required to accelerate the fluid in the line as a pump goes from a no flow to a full flow the fluid in the line will need to be accelerated (total mass used in the computation should be the total mass of fluid in the line between reservoir and pump(s) 6. Pressure loss due to elevation use whenever pump inlet is more than a few inches above the reservoir outlet line 7. Other pressure losses any additional pressure losses for a particular system which are not included above should be included (in most applications, items 1-6 above are sufficient) Mathematically, the reservoir pressure is computed using

P =P + P + P + P + P + P reservoir PumpInlet LineLosses Components FluidAcceleration Elevation other


P reservoir
P PumpInlet

required pressurization level for the reservoir

minimum required pump inlet pressure from pump manufacturer

P pressure loss due to flow friction this is computed using laminar or turbulent flow LineLosses
equations for pipe flow (see Pipe Flow, Hydraulic Equations)

P pressure loss due to any components in the piping between the reservoir and pump Components
inlet, which would include loss in connectors, valves, etc. these losses could be computed using the orifice flow equation (see Orifice Flow, Hydraulic Equations) or using the equation p = KQn ( see Pipe Flow, Hydraulic Equations for more information on this equation)

P FluidAcceleration

pressure loss required to accelerate fluid in pump inlet tube to required flow rate this is computed using the following equation

A L dv A L L Force ma p P dt p P 1 dQ P dQ = P = = = = FluidAcceleration Area A A A dt A A dt p p p p p

where Ap Lp Q t m a v fluid density pipe cross-sectional area pipe length volumetric flow rate time fluid mass fluid acceleration fluid velocity

P pressure loss required to elevate fluid from reservoir outlet to pump inlet this is Elevation
computed using the following equation

= gh P Elevation
where g h fluid density acceleration due to gravity elevation difference between reservoir outlet and pump inlet

P other

any other pressure losses not included in above

When the above elements are summed and the required fluid pressurization level known, then the reservoir pressurization system design requirements is known. For a gas pressurized reservoir, this would set the pressure regulator setting. For a bootstrap reservoir this would help determine the delta piston areas.