Current state of the art variable displacement pump/motors have high efficiencies when operating at high displacements. However, as the displacement of the pump/motor is reduced, the efficiency significantly decreases. Digital pump/motors aim to increase the efficiency and range of operation of the fluid power system by minimizing leakages, friction losses and compressibility losses. It is based on the concept of actively controlling high speed on/off valves connected to each piston cylinder displacement chamber. This work involves the development of a coupled dynamic model of a digital hydraulic pump/motor that is crucial for understanding the design tradeoffs and operating characteristics of the digital pump/motor. This simulation model can be used to characterize and predict the efficiency, define the dynamic response and flow requirements of on/off valves required to provide significant improvements in efficiency and dynamic response over traditional pump/motors, and perform design optimization studies. The model can analyze different operating strategies (flow limiting and flow diverting) and characterize the effects on pump/motor efficiency and flow ripple. The simulation analysis shows that the sequential flow limiting strategy yields the lowest power loss in both pumping and motoring and that small variances in the valve response would cause a significant loss of power.

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