What Are the Different Types of Hydraulic Fluid?

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Hydraulic fluid is used to run different machinery such as transmissions in cars, forklifts and factory machinery. Each type of hydraulic fluid are made of different chemicals and have different characteristics. Some hydraulic fluids smell while other have no smell at all and some hydraulic fluids are more environmentally friendly than others. Determining what type of hydraulic fluid to use is mainly a personal preference decision.

Oil-based Hydraulic Fluid

Most hydraulic fluids used on ships and are oil or petroleum-based fluids that prevent corrosion on the different metals used in the ships engine. The petroleum-based hydraulic fluid do not have foam when running through the system. Ships are not the only place oil-based hydraulic fluid is used, it can be used in brakes, shock absorbers and some aircraft. The petroleum-based hydraulic fluid is the most common fluids in use today. Besides being flammable, this type of hydraulic fluid also has a tendency of building up sludge in the gear cases and needs to be replaced more often then the synthetic type hydraulic fluid.

Synthetic Hydraulic Fluid

Synthetic hydraulic fluid was developed because other oil-based fluids are flammable and engineers wanted to prevent this flaw. The oil-based hydraulic fluid also had a hazard of exploding under high-pressure situations. The use of synthetic hydraulic fluid is for highly flammable or other hazards may exist with the use of other types of hydraulic fluid. Synthetic hydraulic fluid is not made from natural sources like the oil-based hydraulic fluid and is a combination of different chemicals. This chemical combination is what makes the synthetic hydraulic fluid flame resistant.

Detergent Additive Hydraulic Fluids

Detergent additive hydraulic fluids is considered a flame resistant hydraulic fluid, but can become flammable at certain temperatures. This detergent type hydraulic fluid is used when operating the machinery or part causes a build-up of sludge or there is water present. this type of hydraulic fluid can emulsify water and disperse the water from the machine parts. The drawback of this type of hydraulic fluid is that it deteriorates gaskets and seals quicker than the others.