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Fundamentals of Pneumatics

The frst thng that we want to take a look at before jumping right into the components of a pneumatic
system is sorne background informaron. This includes the varous units and pressure scalcs used in pncumatics, and an introduction to air in general and the water problem in particular.

Learning Activities


Select teachable moments

The Four States of Matter

Matter as we know it can exist in four states:
a. solid b.liquid c. gas d. plasma. An example of a solid would be the table that you are usng to write on. An exarnple of a llquid would be the drink you had at the water fountain. "In goes rhe good air and out goes the bad," an cxamplc of a gas. What about plasma? Look up. Sce the fluorescent lights up there] Thc eight footer aboye you has an electrie are inside of it that is eight fcet long. It exists insde of the glass tube due to the plasma state of matter, OE course, you could always visit the sun, but it's a bit on thc warm side for a acation. Let's examine water as it changes through the first thrce of these states. We know water in its solid state as ice, while as a Iiquid we drink it all the time. If we bol water on the kitchen stove, we sec the "srnokc' given off tbat we caIl steam 01' water vapor. This is water in its gaseous state, Now rernember, the reason that we are lookng at the various sta tes of matter is so that we will be better able to understand the water problem in pneumates, Those of you who are airead y working in the industry

Upon successful completion of this

unit the student will be able to:

Recognize the terrns

associated with an understanding of water problems, pressure seales, and other fundamental units used in pneurnatics

Fundamentals of Pneumatlcs

probably know of factories whcrc you can go in and hook up some pneurnatic device, and you would sweur that you had tappcd into a water main instead of an air line.

Change of State As matter changos from one state to anothcr, lWO very curious things happcn. (1) As matter changes from one state to another it gives up or takes on heat. (2) Once the temperature reaches the point at which rnattcr changes from one state to another, it remains constant while thc changc of state is taking place. A couple of examples will help illustrate this. Takc the old pot of water on thc stovc, We bring it to a boil (212 degrees F). Now, we can bol and bol and bol, and cvcntually the pot will dry up. Whal happened? Well, all thc liquid water changed statc into water vapor. Even though the stove burner stayed on while the water was boiling, thc tcmperature of the water remained at 212 F. Look al thc arrow 011 the chart at the left. Changing from a liquid to a gas, matter takes on hcat. Well, what about it? Did thc water takc on heat? You'rc darn tootin. Ask the stove or the powcr cornpany about it. Where did the extra heat go? Some of it was radiated into thc cnvironrncnt, but most left with the steam. What about the ice in your summcrtirne iced tea? This is what happens to me. (1) Put ice in tall plastic turnblcr, (2) Gct a pot of 1'00111 ternperaturc tea off the kitchen countcr, (3) Pour tea in the tumbler. Crack, crack, blam (sometimcs). You can hear and see the ice cracking as it goes through thcrmal shock. 1 once even had a piece of ice that made a distancc of 10 feet across thc kitchen floor on the fly. Say what? Al any ratc, thc ice fairly quickly warms from about IS r to 32 F, and thc lea tcmperature heads or 32 F from 90 F or so. Now 1 have a nice cool drink that stays cool as the ice continues changing state frorn u solid lo a liquid. Of coursc, this keeps the tea cold because, as you sce from

solid liquid gas plasma solid liquid gas plasma


takes on

gves up heat


of Pneumatlcs

thc chart, the ice must take on hcat frorn the immediate environrnent (from the hot lea, frorn your hand on the glass, etc.) in order to change frorn a solid lO a Liquid at 320 p. But what about making that ice? If you go frorn a liquid to a solid 00 the chart, it says that matter gives IIp heat. Ah, yes, feel the exhaust from your refrigerator as it is making a batch of ice. It heats up your house or apartment, Crear for the wintertime, but we could do without it in the summertime. So to sumrnarizc: as matter changes frorn one state to anothcr its temperature rcmains the sarne, Depcnding on which way you travcl up or down the list 00 thc chart, it gives up or takes on hcat,

No, it's not what you think, No autornobilcs in this course. This abbreviation stands for standard ternperature and pressure, and it refers to values that are used Ior engineering and scientific computation. In pncumatics we use the ter m normal airo

Normal Air
Normal air is air that is at 14.7 !'SrA (pounds per squarc inch, absolute), 68 P, and 36% rclative hurnidity. The term describes air in a condition that is used as a standard of comparison, and you will most likely see it on various spec shccts that Come with factory fresh pneumatic cornponcnts.

This stands for standard cubic fect per minute and is basically a rneasurernent uscd with various blowers, fans, and comprcssors to indicate how rnany cubic feet of air at STP (normal air conditions) are moved per minute.

Fundamentals of Pneumatics

Free Air

Free air is es .cniially thc air that Is around you wherever yon happcn lO be, as rcgards tcmperature, pressure, and relative humidity, This air is in whatever condition that you find it in (Le. hot and hum id, summer day vs. dry, crisp winter day). Jt does not rcfcr ro the air in a rcccivcr, but to thc condition of the air around yOll.
Relative Humidity

Relative humidity is a conccpt analogous to a sponge and water. Prorn our own cxperiencc we know that a sponge wiU absorb or takc up only so rnuch water. Eventually it reaches a point where it beco mes 100% saturated and it will hold no more. With the atmosphere, the air acts like thc sponge and water vapor is analogous to the water in the sponge. As the atrnosphere absorbs water vapor it will reach l point whcrc it becornes 100% saturated and will hold no more. However, the atmosphere, Iike the sponge, will hold various amounts of water vapor (rorn nothing (0%) lo complete saturation (100%). In dealing with the atrnosphere, this is called relative humidity, and the measurement is givcn as a per cent. 50% R.H. (relative hurnidity) rneans that the atrnosphere is holding 50% (01' one half) of the rnaximurn amount of water vapor that it could hold at thc current tcrnperature. 'I'his always seerns to bring up the observation hy someone that when it is raining, the relativc hurnidity is 100%. Well, yes and no. The relativo humidity where you are standing during a rain storrn (such as the porch, just outside the scrccn door) many times will be in thc high 90% range, but not 100%. rr ir were 100% R.H. where you were standing, everything inside the house would be coatcd in water. It is generally 100% relative humidity at the altitude where the rain is COI11ing from, sny 3,500 feet. The important thing ro rcmember about the concept of relative hurnidity is that it is a pcrccntage and