A mechanical spring is a simple accumulator. When a spring is compressed, it “stores” energy and can also be used to dampen shock and buffer pressure rise. Accumulators used in hydraulic circuits perform the following roles:

Store potential energy

Dampen shocks and pressure surges

Maintain a consistent pressure

In an actual hydraulic circuit, an accumulator is usually used for a specific function in one of the abovementioned roles. An accumulator that stores potential energy is often used to back up a hydraulic pump in the event of pump failure or at system startup. For instance, in the event of oil supply failure in large offhighway dump trucks using hydraulically assisted brakes, an accumulator is used to feed several charges of oil into the circuit to effect an emergency stop. Accumulators can also be used to dampen shock loads and pressure surges and to facilitate smooth operation of a hydraulic circuit. Although it uses a selfcontained circuit, any vehicle shock absorber is a type of accumulator. In terms of operating principles, accumulators generally fall into one of three categories:




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