Hydraulic systems are responsible for generating the power needed to operate a wide range of equipment. The hydraulic fluid contained within the hydraulic cylinder is highly pressurized during operation. It is this pressure that helps generate the required power.

Cavitation occurs when gas or oxygen bubbles become suspended within the hydraulic fluid. The implosion of these bubbles has the potential to wreak havoc on the performance of your hydraulic systems.

1. Surface Wear

When one of the gas or oxygen bubbles suspended in hydraulic fluid implodes, an extreme amount of force is exerted over a very small surface area. This force is powerful enough to remove metal from any surface that is in close proximity to the imploded bubble.

When this process occurs inside a hydraulic cylinder, the interior surface of the cylinder will become pitted over time. The metal particles that are removed during cavitation will remain suspended in the hydraulic fluid, contributing to system contamination.

It's critical that you repair a hydraulic cylinder that has been damaged by cavitation in order to ensure the efficient operation of your hydraulic equipment in the future.

2. Seal Failure

Hydraulic systems must remain pressurized in order to function properly. This pressure is maintained through a series of seals that prevent hydraulic fluid from leaking out of the hydraulic cylinder. When cavitation occurs inside the cylinder, the seals can be affected.

Metal particles that have been removed from the interior surface of the cylinder during cavitation can create small nicks and cuts in the soft rubber seals. These nicks and cuts compromise the fit of the seal, allowing fluids to leak out slowly.

Damaged seals can lead to a sudden loss in hydraulic power, so it's critical that you maintain seal integrity by addressing any cavitation that occurs within your hydraulic cylinder.

3. Fluid Degradation

The quality of the hydraulic fluid within a hydraulic system can have a direct impact on the power the system is able to produce. Cavitation can seriously compromise fluid quality and put your entire hydraulic system at risk.

The implosion of gas bubbles suspended within hydraulic fluid creates a significant spike in temperature. Exposure to high temperatures can cause hydraulic fluids to degrade much faster than normal. The viscosity of the fluid will be compromised, and any additives within the hydraulic fluid may deteriorate quickly when exposed to high temperatures.

Repairing the damage caused by cavitation and working to prevent cavitation from occurring in the future can help you better maintain the integrity of your hydraulic fluids. Contact a hydraulic cylinder repair professional near you to learn more.