The lumped parameter approach based on equations describing of the physical behavior of the system still represents one of the most convenient way to simulate hydraulic control systems. The key advantages of this approach are given by its intrinsic simulation swiftness as well as the ease of deriving state space formulations for controller design purposes. However, the common limitation of lumped parameter models is the high level of simplification of for certain physical aspects. For the case of hydraulic control valves with complex geometry, the flow forces are usually one of the most difficult aspects to describe accurately.

The present paper presents a lumped parameter model for counterbalance valves, which includes an accurate analytical approach to model the effect of the flow forces based acting on the valve poppet and piston. The model is based on a classic control volume scheme for the description of the flow through the valve, and it is coupled with a dynamic model for the descriptions of the motion of the moving parts inside the valve. The novelty of the proposed approach consists on the analytical description of the flow forces, which is based on fluid momentum considerations.

After describing the modeling approach, the paper details the authors’ efforts for experimentally validate the model on the basis of tests performed on actual components. The comparison between simulation results and experimental data confirms the validity of the proposed model and also highlights the importance of accounting for flow forces while describing the operation of counterbalance valves, particularly for cases of high flow rates.

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