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Figure is a schematic drawing of a hydraulic brake system. A foot is applied to the brake pedal with the force F1. It is transmitted to the pedal cylinder with the area A1 of 0.5 cm. The Pedal cylinder is connected to the hydraulic system with two wheel cylinders with an area A2 of 2.5 cm. Wheel cylinders create output force F2.
Hydraulic brakes use Pascal’s principle. The driver pushes the brake pedal, exerting a force that is increased by the simple lever and again by the hydraulic system. Each of the identical wheel cylinders receives the same pressure and, therefore, creates the same force output F 2 . The circular cross-sectional areas of the pedal and wheel cylinders are represented by A 1 and A 2 , respectively.


We are given the force F 1 applied to the pedal cylinder. The cross-sectional areas A 1 and A 2 can be calculated from their given diameters. Then we can use the following relationship to find the force F 2 :

F 1 A 1 = F 2 A 2 .

Manipulate this algebraically to get F 2 on one side and substitute known values.


Pascal’s principle applied to hydraulic systems is given by F 1 A 1 = F 2 A 2 :

F 2 = A 2 A 1 F 1 = π r 2 2 π r 1 2 F 1 = ( 1.25 cm ) 2 ( 0.250 cm ) 2 × 500 N = 1.25 × 10 4 N .


This value is the force exerted by each of the four wheel cylinders. Note that we can add as many wheel cylinders as we wish. If each has a 2.50-cm diameter, each will exert 1.25 × 10 4 N . A simple hydraulic system, as an example of a simple machine, can increase force but cannot do more work than is done on it. Work is force times distance moved, and the wheel cylinder moves through a smaller distance than the pedal cylinder. Furthermore, the more wheels added, the smaller the distance each one moves. Many hydraulic systems—such as power brakes and those in bulldozers—have a motorized pump that actually does most of the work in the system.

Check Your Understanding Would a hydraulic press still operate properly if a gas is used instead of a liquid?

Yes, it would still work, but since a gas is compressible, it would not operate as efficiently. When the force is applied, the gas would first compress and warm. Hence, the air in the brake lines must be bled out in order for the brakes to work properly.

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  • Pressure is force per unit area.
  • A change in pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to all portions of the fluid and to the walls of its container.
  • A hydraulic system is an enclosed fluid system used to exert forces.

Conceptual questions

Suppose the master cylinder in a hydraulic system is at a greater height than the cylinder it is controlling. Explain how this will affect the force produced at the cylinder that is being controlled.

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How much pressure is transmitted in the hydraulic system considered in [link] ? Express your answer in atmospheres.

251 atm

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What force must be exerted on the master cylinder of a hydraulic lift to support the weight of a 2000-kg car (a large car) resting on a second cylinder? The master cylinder has a 2.00-cm diameter and the second cylinder has a 24.0-cm diameter.

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A host pours the remnants of several bottles of wine into a jug after a party. The host then inserts a cork with a 2.00-cm diameter into the bottle, placing it in direct contact with the wine. The host is amazed when the host pounds the cork into place and the bottom of the jug (with a 14.0-cm diameter) breaks away. Calculate the extra force exerted against the bottom if he pounded the cork with a 120-N force.

5.76 × 10 3 N extra force

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A certain hydraulic system is designed to exert a force 100 times as large as the one put into it. (a) What must be the ratio of the area of the cylinder that is being controlled to the area of the master cylinder? (b) What must be the ratio of their diameters? (c) By what factor is the distance through which the output force moves reduced relative to the distance through which the input force moves? Assume no losses due to friction.

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Verify that work input equals work output for a hydraulic system assuming no losses due to friction. Do this by showing that the distance the output force moves is reduced by the same factor that the output force is increased. Assume the volume of the fluid is constant. What effect would friction within the fluid and between components in the system have on the output force? How would this depend on whether or not the fluid is moving?

If the system is not moving, the friction would not play a role. With friction, we know there are losses, so that W o = W i W f ; therefore, the work output is less than the work input. In other words, to account for friction, you would need to push harder on the input piston than was calculated.

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Questions & Answers

who discover periodic table?
lovet Reply
it wasn't discovered , it was made.and the person who made it was dmitri mendeleev. dobreinier and newland gave their laws before dmitri related periodic table but wasn't successful in their work
Nope, numerous number of scientist had actually contributed in the making of periodic table. Dmitri Mendeleev succeeded making all the elements into the right order in accordance to their atomic number.
what is the Greek name for calcium
Oniyide Reply
different types of wave
Yog Reply
longitudinal and transverse waves
a gun is kept in the state that it cannot move anywhere and the bullet is fired. Then what is the effect on the velocity of bullet and KE of gun ?
Gobinda Reply
want is meant by the term solar system
jafar Reply
it refers to the sun and all heavenly bodies revolving around it.
excatly...for sure
in addition to Danie's, a solar system is a collection of planets and their moons, asteroids, and other objects bound together by the Star's gravitational force directly or indirectly.
what is meant by total internal reflection
Akshay Reply
what iw meant by total internal reflection
Lorentz force?
study fibre optics. .you will get total internal reflection
what is Lorentz force?
a ray of light traveling at an angle of incidence greater than critical angle from denser to rarer medium is totally reflected back into the denser medium is called total internal reflaction
motion in strat line where is this chapter
Vijaybhai Reply
what is Lorentz force?
jyotirmayee Reply
what is maxwell electromagnetic law?
at what angle should the two forces 2p and root 2p acts so that the resultant force is p root 10
Akshay Reply
what answer fir this
what's the working difference between a dynamo and a pump?
Piyali Reply
a dynamo is basically a dc generator while pump is usually equipped with a motor
a dynamo converts mechanical energy to electrical while a pump is opposite to that
why sea water looks bluish?
Piyali Reply
cuz the sky is blue...
you see the reflexion of the "blue" sky in the water
somewhere sea water turns green why?
never seen bro... are u sure ?
ur answer was correct but due to the presence of phytoplankton color can be changed near the shore
waaaww... you re awesome
because of the reflection of the sky
rays coming from the sun consist of all 7 colours ie.VIBGYOR. when the ray strikes surface of water,all colors gets absorbed by it except blue which gets reflected by it.so we find the sea water appearing bluish
how can someone identify sea water from rain water
i think it's not possible as because rainwater consists of water from all kind of water bodies ie.lakes,seas etc but u can predict if u have a sea nearby ur home or city
i need solutions of unuversity pbysucs volume 1
Vimla Reply
me too
Help us if anyone knows
bring questions
actually if u wanted whole book solution then u should buy the solution book
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where do u live ,,,,,if u live in Delhi then at bellsarayeiii or from stationary store ,,,,chatarpurrr ,,,,,there is a popular books store,,,,,u have to buy from there
Kota Rajasthan
so strange,,,,,r u preparing for pmt,,,?
for IIT
then concern near book store
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or ask questions here
thanks for your help
its fine,,most welcome
what is three dimensional coordinate system?
Sachindra Reply
considering the change of vectors in all three dimensions of space
direction co-sign of vector questions
Vipin Reply
opposite mean
what is the different between action and reaction?
Asali Reply
action is external force. Reaction exists because of the external action. Reaction is mostly an internal force
The difference is said in the word itself. There is no existance of reaction without an application of action. So action occur first then reaction. Reaction may produce in body itself or to other body i.e., it may be internal or external.
or we can say , reaction is the result of action
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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