Hydraulic Cylinder Force

Hydraulic Cylinder Force

You cannot downplay the role hydraulic systems play in distinct industrial applications. At the heart of these indispensable systems lies hydraulic cylinders, which generate mechanical force capable of propelling heavy loads.

What is Hydraulic Cylinder Force

Hydraulic cylinder force is simply the muscle power generated by a hydraulic cylinder and is responsible for the cylinder accomplishing its designated roles. These roles may include lifting burdensome consignments, pulling and pushing them. The generation of this force is founded on Pascal’s law and its power may differ depending on cylinder size and surface area.

What is Hydraulic Cylinder Force

Hydraulic Cylinder Force Calculator

Calculating hydraulic cylinder force manually may seem demanding but worry not because you can now utilize a dedicated calculate to work out this force. This calculator not only eases the calculation process but also takes into account essential parameters like internal friction thus guaranteeing more accurate figures. These essential tools are available in three distinct forms.

  • Computer-aided design software
  • Standalone applications
  • Online tools

To use this calculator, all you have to do is key in specified parameters such as the working pressure and piston diameter. The calculator will then work out the force output for you. Some advanced calculators may convert your values to your favored unit.

Comparing Hydraulic Force vs Cylinder Size

Cylinder size is one of the most prominent factors that hugely impact the force output of your hydraulic system. However, it is not a parameter whose change bears a proportionate effect on hydraulic force. Here are some cylinder size parameters and their impact on your cylinder’s exerted hydraulic force.

  • Cylinder Bore Diameter: Your cylinder’s bore diameter is the primary factor that determines the effective area of surface area. Thereby, if your cylinder has a bigger bore diameter, its surface area is equally big thus your cylinder will generate more hydraulic force.
  • Piston Diameter: The piston diameter determines the periphery in which your cylinder’s piston slides. It impacts your cylinder’s surface area meaning it ultimately influences your cylinder’s force output. A bigger piston diameter translates into a comparatively more powerful hydraulic force.
  • Stroke Length: The stroke length of your hydraulic cylinder dictates the range of distance your piston can cover inside the cylinder. Although this length greatly influences your cylinder’s force output, it is also susceptible to parameters such as friction.

Key Factors Affecting Hydraulic Cylinder Force

Your hydraulic cylinder may exert more or less force depending on varying factors. These factors include;

· Pressure (P)

For hydraulic cylinder force to be generated, you must wield pressure on the hydraulic fluid contained in your cylinders. If you apply enormous pressure, your cylinders will consequently generate more hydraulic force. However, if you shrink the applied pressure, the resulting force will be equally low.

· Effective Area (A)

To understand how the effective area impacts the output of your hydraulic cylinder, you must understand Pascal’s law. If you are relying on humongous cylinders with enormous diameters, you are likely to enjoy greater hydraulic cylinder force. If your cylinders are relatively smaller, your hydraulic force will be relatively low due to the lesser effective area.

· Piston Diameter

If you have two hydraulic cylinders with varying piston diameters, you will notice that the one with a comparatively bigger diameter generates more force. This is because the larger piston diameter translates into a larger effective area. As such, more hydraulic force will be produced without necessarily increasing the applied pressure.

· Fluid Characteristics

The primary fluid properties that impact the force output of your hydraulic cylinders are compressibility and viscosity. If your fluid is highly viscous, you can expect greater hydraulic force output. However, you must be wary of friction, which can shrink the force output. If you are utilizing a highly compressible fluid, the force output may be slightly lower as well.

· Temperature

Temperature tends to alter the viscosity of fluid contained in your hydraulic cylinders. For instance, extremely high temperatures may shrink your fluid’s viscosity resulting in reduced force output. It can also greatly impact pressure and flow characteristics hence it is important to maintain proper temperature conditions.

· Cylinder Type

You can exploit varying types of hydraulic cylinders depending on the demands of your application. These options include;

  • Double-Acting Cylinder: These cylinders are equipped with two ports and this allows them to support retraction and extension of your piston. This results in force output distributed in both ways.
  • Single-Acting Cylinder: These cylinders feature a single port and this only facilitates the exertion of force in a single direction. Although these distinct cylinder types can exert varying degrees of force, their surface area is the primary determinant of exerted pressure.

· Friction

Hydraulic cylinders are often equipped with airtight seals, which help avert pressure loss and fluid leakage. However, the deployment of these seals comes with the disadvantage of internal friction. Friction minimizes the force output of your cylinders hence you are advised to utilize seals that are less susceptible to friction.


Industrial Automation

Various industries utilize hydraulic systems and cylinders to propel numerous functions. Industrial hydraulic cylinders are typically large-sized and this allows them to generate sufficient hydraulic force. They are primarily utilized to:

  • Move consignments.
  • Press materials.
  • Stamp materials.
  • Control robotic motion etc.

Construction is synonymous with heavy machinery and loads. Moving these loads to their respective sites necessitates enormous power, which is often generated by hydraulic cylinders. For instance, towering cranes and excavators used in construction sites exploit hydraulic cylinders.


Distinct aerospace applications depend on specialized hydraulic cylinders to function properly. These applications include missile launching and landing gear systems.

Marine Applications

In the marine world, they are prominently exploited to handle cargo and steer distinct water vessels. They supply the vessels with hydraulic force sufficient enough to propel the vessel.


Hydraulic cylinders are tremendously revered in the mining industry due to their robust lifting power. They are deployed in machines used to extract, move, and handle heavy mineral loads.

Hydraulic force is an indispensable and invisible muscle power responsible for the automation of distinct industrial applications like lifting and clamping. Working out the respective force generated by your hydraulic cylinders should help you optimize their functionality and avert safety hazards.

Calculation of Hydraulic Cylinder Force

Understanding the amount of force a particular hydraulic cylinder can generate comes in handy when selecting the right hydraulic cylinder for your application. Thankfully, you can establish this force output using a simple calculation formula. However, you must first;

  • Establish the diameter of your cylinder’s piston.
  • Find out the radius of your piston.
  • Establish the working pressure using this formular; Pressure=force/area.
  • Calculate the piston area using the following formula: Area=π× (Piston Radius)2.

After you have established the aforementioned parameters, you may now proceed to calculate your cylinder’s respective force output. Here is the formula you will use.

Force= Pressure x Area (F=PxA)

Here is an example:

Let us assume you have a hydraulic cylinder with an operating pressure of 2000 psi and a piston diameter of 8 inches. First, you will need to find out the piston diameter and you can do this by dividing 8 by 2. This will give you 4, which after squaring will give you 8 inches.

Consequently, work out the piston area using the underlying formula;

Area=π×(Piston Radius)2

Piston Area=π×82



≈201.06193 square units

Now that you have established the piston area and your cylinder’s working pressure, proceed to work out the hydraulic force.


F= 2000 X 201.06193

F= 402, 123.86 pounds

Why Knowing Hydraulic Cylinder Force is Important

Knowing the force output of prospective hydraulic cylinders helps you settle for a cylinder that meets the force demands of your respective application. This knowledge also empowers you to make informed decisions on its usage. Here are reasons why you cannot afford to disregard your cylinder’s force output.

Choosing the Right Cylinder

The right hydraulic cylinder is a cylinder that meets your application’s force demands adequately. A cylinder that delivers relatively a lower force level may be ineffective while one that delivers excess force may be dangerous.

Enhanced Safety

Once you establish the accepted force level of your hydraulic cylinders, you can regulate the amount of pressure applied. This ultimately mitigates equipment damage, which may lead to bodily harm or injuries. Excessive force may cause cracking or completely rupture your cylinders.

Optimizing Performance

For your hydraulic cylinder to operate at a high level, you must subject it to the right working pressure. This is only possible if you are aware of its recommended force range. Subjecting it to improper conditions like high or low pressure may degrade its performance.

Regulatory Compliance

There are safety guidelines that regulate the amount of pressure that you can subject your hydraulic cylinders to. Understanding the force output of your respective cylinder helps you conform to these regulations thereby saving you unnecessary fines.

Proactive Troubleshooting

With precise measurements of your hydraulic cylinder’s force, you can easily establish instances when your cylinders are malfunctioning. By monitoring the surges in force output you can troubleshoot issues such as fluid leakage and pressure loss.

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