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The structure of high-pressure accumulator

High-pressure accumulators are critical components in hydraulic systems, designed to store and release energy under high pressure. They typically consist of the following key elements:

1. Pressure Vessel (Accumulator Shell)

  • Material: Usually made from high-strength steel or composite materials to withstand high pressures.
  • Shape: Commonly cylindrical, but can also be spherical.
  • Function: Encases the internal components and withstands the external pressure forces.

2. Gas Chamber

  • Gas Type: Typically nitrogen, due to its inert properties.
  • Purpose: The gas chamber stores the compressed gas which provides the energy storage capability of the accumulator.

3. Separator (Bladder, Diaphragm, or Piston)

  • Types:
    • Bladder: A flexible, balloon-like component made of elastomer that expands and contracts with fluid pressure.
    • Diaphragm: A flexible, disc-shaped membrane that separates the gas and fluid chambers.
    • Piston: A solid, movable barrier that slides within the shell to separate the gas and fluid chambers.
  • Material: Typically made of durable elastomers for bladders and diaphragms; pistons are often metal or metal-coated.

4. Fluid Port

  • Function: The entry and exit point for the hydraulic fluid.
  • Location: Positioned to allow fluid to flow into the accumulator, compressing the gas or moving the separator.
  • Design: Often equipped with check valves to control the flow direction and prevent backflow.

5. Gas Pre-Charge Port

  • Purpose: Used to charge the accumulator with nitrogen gas to a predetermined pressure.
  • Components: Includes a valve or fitting to connect to a nitrogen supply.

6. End Caps or Flanges

  • Purpose: Securely seal the ends of the pressure vessel.
  • Design: Bolted or welded, ensuring a leak-proof and high-strength seal.

7. Safety Devices

  • Pressure Relief Valves: To prevent over-pressurization by releasing excess gas.
  • Burst Discs: Act as a fail-safe to rupture at a specific pressure, protecting the system from excessive pressure.

Detailed Breakdown by Type

Bladder Accumulators

  • Structure: A bladder made of elastomer inside the pressure vessel.
  • Operation: Hydraulic fluid compresses the gas-filled bladder, storing energy.
  • Maintenance: Bladders can be replaced, making them easier to maintain.

Diaphragm Accumulators

  • Structure: A diaphragm divides the gas and fluid sections.
  • Operation: Fluid compresses the gas on the other side of the diaphragm.
  • Size: Typically smaller capacity than bladder accumulators.

Piston Accumulators

  • Structure: A piston moves within the pressure vessel to separate gas and fluid.
  • Operation: The piston moves based on pressure differences, storing energy in the compressed gas.
  • Capacity and Control: Suitable for larger volumes and precise control of pressure.

Working Principle

The basic operation of a high-pressure accumulator involves the following steps:

  1. Charging: The accumulator is pre-charged with nitrogen gas via the gas pre-charge port.
  2. Energy Storage: Hydraulic fluid enters through the fluid port, compressing the gas via the bladder, diaphragm, or piston.
  3. Energy Release: When system pressure drops, the compressed gas expands, forcing the hydraulic fluid back into the system, thereby releasing the stored energy.


  • Energy Storage: Accumulators store energy to be used during peak demand or emergency situations.
  • Shock Absorption: They absorb shocks and dampen pulsations in hydraulic systems.
  • Pressure Maintenance: Provide consistent pressure in hydraulic circuits to ensure smooth operation.
  • Emergency Power: Supply hydraulic energy during power outages or system failures.

Understanding the structure and functioning of high-pressure accumulators is essential for their effective use in various hydraulic applications, ensuring reliability, efficiency, and safety.



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