This paper reviews the state of the art of directly driven proportional directional hydraulic spool valves, which are widely used hydraulic components in the industrial and transportation sectors. First, the construction and performance of commercially available units are discussed, together with simple models of the main characteristics. The review of published research focuses on two key areas: investigations that analyze and optimize valves from a fluid dynamic point of view, and then studies on spool position control systems. Mathematical modeling is a very active area of research, including computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for spool geometry optimization, and dynamic spool actuation and motion modeling to inform controller design. Drawbacks and advantages of new designs and concepts are described in the paper.

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