Advancing Fluid Power Technology: an Overview of the Approaches at the Maha Fluid Power Research Center
Fluid power (FP) is the “muscle” of many machines in agriculture, construction, transportation, aerospace, marine, manufacturing, and entertainment industries. Despite FP has widespread use in engineering applications, it is often viewed as a mature technology with very little margin for improvement. However, there are still great opportunities for improving the performance of FP machines, particularly in the areas of fuel economy, safety and controllability, and noise emissions. Advances in computational methods and manufacturing technologies are enabling new design concepts for FP components as well as system architectures, which were impractical only a few decades ago. Also, the recent trends in industry toward machine electrification and autonomous vehicles are pushing toward integrated solutions that combine FP with other technologies. These solutions are bringing to the market novel FP actuation methods, such as distributed hydraulics, electro-hydraulic actuators, and many others. This seminar will introduce these recent trends in FP research, and it will go into more detail on the current efforts at the Maha Fluid Power Research Center of Purdue University (Maha), which is the largest academic lab dedicated to FP technology in the US. The numerical models for hydraulic machines developed at Maha, the original testing methods developed for their validation, as well as the effort towards electrified hydraulic machines will be taken as significant examples of the cutting-edge FP research ongoing at the Maha Center.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Vacca earned his PhD from the University of Florence (Italy) in 2005, presenting a dissertation in the field of Gas Turbine Cooling Technology. Before joining Purdue University in 2010, Dr. Vacca was an Assistant Professor of Fluid Machinery at the University of Parma (Italy). Fluid power technology has been Dr. Vacca's major research interest since 2005. The goals of his research are the improvement of the energy efficiency and controllability of fluid power systems and the reduction of noise emissions of fluid power components. To accomplish these goals, his research team has developed original numerical models and experimental techniques for hydraulic systems and components. Dr. Vacca's interests also include the modeling of the properties of hydraulic fluids, with focus on the effects of aeration and cavitation, as well as the use of low viscosity fluids (such as water) in fluid power systems. Dr. Vacca is the author of more than 100 papers, most of them published in international journals or conferences. He is also active in the fluid power technical community. He is co-chair of the Fluid Power Systems and Technology Division (FPST) of ASME and a former chair of the SAE Fluid Power division. Dr. Vacca is also Treasurer and Secretary of the Board of the Global Fluid Power Society (GFPS). Furthermore, he is also Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Fluid Power and Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Energies "Energy Efficiency and Controllability of Fluid Power Systems”.
Host: Marcello Canova