The objective of this paper is to experimentally investigate the significance of the pressure transient flow force acting on hydraulic spool valves. In the past, this flow force effect has been routinely neglected due to its assumed small size. Through analytical and experimental methods, this research shows that flow forces due to pressure transient effects can be comparable in magnitude to the steady flow forces acting on the valve and that the past tradition of neglecting this effect may not always be justified. The paper also shows that the traditional steady flow force model does a fairly good job predicting the steady flow forces on the valve, but more research must be done to develop a good model for pressure transient flow forces.

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