Surge Suppression and Pulsation Reduction

By Bob Wojcik

The need for a surge suppressor in a hydraulic system results from the transient flow conditions transmitted when the flow of the hydraulic fluid in a pipe is suddenly changed, started, or stopped. Plumbing or piping systems that use quick acting valves, or pumps which start or stop quickly, both create potential pressure transients, surges, or “spikes”. These conditions may result in piping failures or plumbing fatigue over time. In addition, these conditions may cause damage to pumps, fittings, instrumentation, and other system components.

Surge and pulsation problems are fairly common in the fluid power arena, but just as many difficulties can be found in fuel handling systems such as diesel fuel, gasoline, jet fuel, and pipelines for natural fas. These surges are also common in fuel storage facilities, fuel dispensing facilities, and at airport gates where the fuel is dispensed directly onto the aircraft. Surge or pulsation reducing devices are commonly required in these fuel systems.

Additionally, these surge control devices can be found controlling pressure spikes in various industrial applications, fire protection systems, municipal water and sewage handling or pumping systems, petro-chemical facilities, and cogeneration plants. Controlling surges can increase the life of the system by efficiently managing potentially damaging forces. They are available to address surge problems either in a new or in a recently renovated system.

Surge and pulsation reduction products can be implemented as accumulators in hydraulic systems. In these systems, pressure lines directly after hydraulic pumps, fitted with a surge reducer, minimize the pulsation produced by the hydraulic pumps which could then affect the system’s performance. This can be especially critical in servo hydraulic systems where position, velocity, and pressure or force need to be accurately controlled.

Liquid pulsation dampeners function as acoustic isolators reducing the magnitude of pressure pulses which would normally be transmitted at sonic velocity to the piping system. These pulsation dampeners are designed to attenuate or eliminate 90% or more of the existing pulsations.

Surge suppressors can be installed near the pump outlet, or near the inlet of shut-off valves – whichever best protects the system and piping. Quality Hydraulics’ Certified Fluid Power Specialists utilize a software program that considers all the parameters and helps analyze the piping system to select the type, size, and number of surge dampeners necessary to optimally reduce pulsation and surges. For more information visit our page about Hydraulic Pulsation & Surge Control equipment.