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Control M
ost people in
motorsport have
heard of Moog
valves, but very
few outside

Formula 1 and World Rallying
know much about what they are
and what they do. We therefore
set out to nd out why they
have become so essential at the
top end of our sport.

At their simplest, Moog
valves are electrically operated
servovalves that control hydraulic
actuators. Their unique appeal,
however, is the speed and
accuracy with which they can
regulate the ow using tiny
electrical inputs. On a racecar
this is an essential quality as
a number of systems, such as
What is a Moog valve and why has it become an essential part gear selection and throttle
operation, are driven by high-
of Formula 1 technology over the last quarter of a century? pressure hydraulics, and fast,
precise control is essential. The
BY CHARLES ARMSTRONG-WILSON fundamental reason for the
adoption of hydraulic technology
in F1 is its unparalleled power
density and, in the weight-
conscious world of racecar
engineering, hydraulic actuation
systems are a fraction of the size
and weight of the alternative
electrical or pneumatic systems.
The valves themselves were
invented by Bill Moog in 1950,
for use in aircraft and missiles,
but it was not until the early
1980s that they made their

what is
learned in
F1 is rarely
rst appearance in motorsport.
That was due to Team Lotus,
which had been wrestling with
the problems of ground-effect
aerodynamics and the attendant
ride height sensitivity. Its
solution was active suspension
in essence, replacing the
springs, dampers and anti-roll
bars with hydraulic actuators
controlled by a computer.
To get the precision, the
company turned to the aerospace
industry and used off-the-
shelf Moog Series 30 hydraulic
servovalves. By the early 1990s,
while fully active suspension
attracted few followers in F1,
With this E050 cartridge valve, Moog has taken its valves from the raried attitude control by hydraulics had
world of Formula 1 into the hostile environment of World Rallying become the state of the art, with

November 2008 67


Moogs product range for

motorsport has grown to include
items like this power-assisted
steering valve

The companys E024 series micro valve was developed specically for
motorsport and is now widely used on Formula 1 cars

Valve responding Valve condition
to change in following charge
electrical input

When a current is applied the armature swings, blanking the ow from one jet and moving the spool. This, in turn, balances the force on the armature

When Bill Moog patented his uid

control valve in 1950, it comprised
several hydraulic control principles
degrees at most. This, in turn, moves
the apper valve, obstructing the ow
from one of the two jets and increasing
direction required via the ports.
The Moog valve has an additional
renement that gives it its spectacular
developed over centuries. It was his the pressure in that feed compared with level of accuracy and control. On the end
packaging and renement, however, the other, which is still venting pressure of the armature-mounted apper valve
that made the Moog uid control valve through its unrestricted jet. is a feedback spring. Put simply, this is
such a powerful component. The clever Both these pressure feeds are a exible member with a ball end that
part of a Moog valve is its locates in the spool. As the
ability to precisely control the spool moves in response to the
ow of high-pressure uids At some point, the two pressure difference, it moves
with very small control inputs.
The way it achieves this is by
opposing forces reach an the end of the feedback spring,
opposing the movement of the
using the pressure of the uid equilibrium that stabilises apper valve and armature. At
it controls to power the valve. some point, the two opposing
A Moog valve continuously the position of the spool forces reach an equilibrium
ows a small amount of uid that stabilises the position
through two small jets facing each connected via a side gallery to either of the spool and, in turn, the amount
other. Between them is a apper valve end of a sliding valve, called a spool, in of restriction to the main ow of uid.
connected to the armature in a torque a cylindrical gallery with cut-out valve In this way, it allows small changes to
motor. The armature sits between orices. The difference in pressure the current at the armature to produce
permanent magnets and, as a current between the two feed pipes causes the precise changes to the ow of uid. This
is fed to wire coils around the armature, spool to slide along the cylinder, opening principle allows the Moog valve to also
it twists a small amount a couple of a supply of the main pressure feed in the work as a uid pressure amplier.

68 November 2008

A spool from one of
Moogs linear power-
assisted steering valves

Although they differ in application, all Moog valves

share the same basic principle of operation

A linear actuator, as used to drive

position-sensitive systems like
throttles and gear selector barrels

most teams running some kind of This allows the valves to be be used either to open the fuel pressure and throttling action of
short-stroke actuator under the driven directly from the cars ECU. ap or to select reverse gear, the valve generates more heat.
springs. But for the 1994 season, The valves are usually grouped saving the weight of a second The hydraulic uid reservoir of
the FIA chose to ban it for a onto a single hydraulics block, valve and its associated wiring an F1 car typically holds less
number of reasons, including through which hydraulic pressure and mounting manifold. This than 300cc, so there is very
development cost and safety. is distributed and controlled. relies on the premise that its little mass of uid to absorb
Essentially, all the valve not necessary to re-fuel while heat and temperatures can
F1 SYSTEMS does is accurately control the travelling in reverse! rise very quickly. There is also
What is learned in F1, however, ow of hydraulic uid and, to Over the years, the demands reluctance on the part of teams
is rarely forgotten and the Moog make this property useful in a placed on Moogs products by F1 to provide oil-to-air coolers for
valve had, by then, found its way racecar, it has to be incorporated have intensied and there has the uid due to the extra weight
into other areas of the car. As into a feedback loop with a been constant development to and aerodynamic drag incurred.
many as 10 systems on an F1 car sensor. On the throttles and the rise to the challenge. Response Instead, they sometimes use oil-
were being controlled by Moog gear selection barrels, where times, in particular, are critical to-water heat exchangers with
valves, including anti-lock braking, precise position is key, the engine coolant
brake balance and braking the valve operates that will already be
power assistance. Moog had in response to a to make this useful running in excess of
also recognised the sport as an position sensor. On the in a racecar it has to 110degC.
ideal market for its products and differential, however, All this means the
started making valves specically it is responding to the be incorporated into valves have to be
to meet the demands of F1. signal from a pressure a feedback loop with a designed to cope with
Today, the most commonly
used hydraulic servovalve in
sensor. The clutch can
be either, depending
sensor the heat. All seals
are of Viton high-
F1 is the Moog E024 series on the control strategy temperature material
sub-miniature valve. Developed chosen. In these applications, and considerable effort has been and machining tolerances are
specically for F1, it weighs just very fast response is essential, put into reducing the inertia of kept very tight in pursuit of good
92g, less than half the weight the E024 for example reacting to the armature in the torque motor, sealing. At the high temperatures
of the companys smallest an input in less than 1ms. increasing its eld strength and to which F1 subjects its hydraulic
aerospace valve. Typically, an Two other applications for reducing the air gaps. This has uids, viscosity is considerably
F1 car would use ve or six, the Moog valve on an F1 car are enabled Moog to reduce the reduced, down to as low as
operating the clutch, gearshift the fuel ap and reverse gear. response time of the electrics to 4-5CSt, compared with 20CSt in
selector drums, throttle and Both are simple on-off scenarios less than 1ms, helping the valve normal industrial applications.
differential. and do not use the closed-loop achieve maximum control ow in Such low viscosity makes
In the interests of minimum technology normally associated less than 3ms. retaining the uid a challenge
size and weight, F1 hydraulic with Moog valves. A feature of Temperature also places great and the clearance between the
systems run at very high the E024 valve, however, is that demands on hydraulic systems spool and the valve housing
pressures (up to 230bar) and an it can be modied to mimic the and their control valves. On an needs to be just 1.25m.
E024 servovalve can control as function of two independent, F1 car, the hydraulic uid will Such precision components
much as 5bhp (3.5KW) with a three-way solenoid valves, typically operate at around being used in a hostile
command signal of just +_10mA. meaning a single E024 valve can 100-135degC and the high environment inevitably have

November 2008 69




Over the years,

Formula 1 steering
has become increasingly
heavy, as steering
geometry has sought
ENGINE INLET to extract aerodynamic
TRUMPETS GEARBOX benets. Now all
ACTUATION F1 cars have power
steering and would be
undriveable without. A
ACTIVE few years ago, however,
SUSPENSION during one of its
sweeping rule changes
aimed at attempting to
put control of the cars
back in the hands of the
ACTUATION drivers, the FIA banned
power steering. This
removed any ability
KERS to map the steering
TRANS- assistance the driver
was given in response
MISSION to the conditions. Some
form of power steering
was still needed,
however, and because
Moog valves had been
used in the now banned
systems, it was an
obvious move for the
ABS company to look at
developing a passive,
POWER-ASSISTED hydro-mechanical,
steering system.
Mick Hill at

What the company

came up with is in
POWER-ASSISTED essence very similar
STEERING to the principles of a
conventional road car
system, but smaller,
lighter, more accurate
and able to work at
Diagrammatic showing the multiple and varied roles of Moog control valves on the current breed of Formula 1 cars constant pressures of
200Bar. Essentially,
the regulating valve
a limited service life and in F1 being perceived as incompatible which uses a linear electric motor is very similar to one
Moog valves are usually replaced with the nature of servicing to activate the spool valve. By of the companys
after 12,000km. They also need on events. Ever more complex removing the pilot stage and its electro-hydraulic servo
valves but, instead
to be serviced either every transmissions with active very ne jets, the valve is much
of the signal coming
4000km, or after 20 less susceptible to
from a torque motor,
hours of use. This the valve is much uid contamination it is fed from a torsion
entails the valve and the hydraulic
being dismantled
less susceptible to uid system can be
bar or linear springs
in the load path of the
and inspected and contamination and the serviced in the eld. steering. As the steering
load increases it creates
key parts replaced,
including the seals,
hydraulic system can be Despite
approaching its 60th a displacement in
a tiny, 15m lter serviced in the eld birthday then, the the torsion bar that is
that strains out Moog valve is still linked directly to the
spool that, just as in the
particles and a thin-wall stainless differentials requiring precise very much part of the cutting-
normal valve, provides a
steel tube in the pilot stage. hydraulic control, however, edge technology on which
pressure differential
For a long time, rallying forced the manufacturers to motorsports highest echelons to the ends of the
resisted the use of Moog consider Moog valves. The rely and, unless hydraulics fall steering rack, giving
valves due to their need for company responded with its from favour, looks likely to power assistance.
scrupulously clean hydraulic uid E050 Proportional Cartridge DDV, remain so.

70 November 2008