How hydraulics drive aircraft braking systems

When it comes to air travel, safety is of huge importance. Ensuring that these colossal machines can decelerate and stop effectively on the runway requires sophisticated braking systems. Behind the scenes, hydraulics play a critical role in powering and controlling the aircraft’s braking mechanisms. Power Team SA, suppliers of quality hydraulic components, knows the potential and benefits of using hydraulics and how they can be used to ensure safety, especially in large and complex machinery such as airplanes

  1. The basics of aircraft braking systems

Aircraft braking systems are complex and highly engineered to handle the immense forces and demands of aviation. These systems serve two primary purposes: deceleration during landing and enabling controlled movement on the ground.

In modern aircrafts, the braking system consists of multiple components, including brake pedals, hydraulic lines, master cylinders, actuators, and brake assemblies attached to the wheels. However, it is the hydraulics that provide the power necessary to stop an aircraft swiftly and safely.

  1. The science behind hydraulic brakes

Hydraulic braking systems uses the principles of fluid mechanics to convert mechanical force into hydraulic pressure. The braking system is powered by hydraulic fluid, which is pressurised and directed to actuate the brake assemblies. When the braking system is initiated, hydraulic pressure is applied to the brake assemblies, causing the brake pads to clamp onto the rotating wheels, creating friction and creating the force to stop. This allows for effective braking, even on large and heavy commercial aircraft. This power, coupled with the precise control hydraulics offer, ensures that pilots can modulate the braking force according to the specific conditions and requirements of each landing.

  1. Anti-skid systems and hydraulic control

One of the critical features of modern aircraft braking systems is the integration of anti-skid systems. These systems use hydraulic control to prevent wheel lock-up and skidding during braking, enhancing safety and control on the runway.

Anti-skid systems rely on hydraulic pressure sensors and electronic control units to monitor the rotational speed of the wheels during braking. If the system detects wheel lock-up, it lowers the hydraulic pressure to the brake assemblies, releasing and reapplying the brakes rapidly to maintain optimal friction and prevent skidding. This rapid modulation is made possible by the precise and responsive control offered by hydraulic systems.

  1. Hydraulic fluids and braking systems

Hydraulic fluids play a vital role in aircraft braking systems. These specialized fluids must exhibit excellent lubrication, corrosion resistance, and temperature stability properties. They need to operate reliably across a wide range of temperatures and maintain consistent performance under extreme conditions.

  1. Maintenance and Safety Considerations

Given the critical nature of braking systems, regular maintenance and thorough inspections are essential to ensure their continued reliability and safety. Hydraulic components, such as seals, hoses, and fluid levels, must be regularly inspected, and the hydraulic fluid needs to be monitored and replaced according to maintenance schedules. Aircraft manufacturers and maintenance crews adhere to strict guidelines and protocols to ensure that hydraulic braking systems are maintained and serviced to the highest standards.

Power Team SA understands the hidden power of hydraulics and how they drive aircraft braking systems, enabling safe and controlled landings. The Power Team SA team is on hand to answer all questions related to hydraulics and provide expert opinions on all hydraulic needs in various industries.