The MathWorks’ newest software product allows engineers to model and simulate hydraulic controllers and plant models using a single tool. Instead of one tool for control algorithm development and one for simulating the hydraulic system, SimHydraulics operates within the well-established Simulink environment to perform multi-domain modeling and simulation.
The software’s methodology allows users to describe the physical structure of a system without concern for the underlying mathematics. Configuring physical elements such as pumps, motors and valves to form a physical network is as simple as linking the blocks with lines corresponding to the physical connections that transmit power.
With a library of more than 75 models of hydraulic and mechanical components, including models for pumps, cylinders, accumulators, hydraulic flow lines and one-dimensional mechanical elements, engineers can easily represent most commercially available components. Using hydraulic network schematics based on the ISO 1219 fluid power standard, Sim-Hydraulics automatically constructs a set of equations that characterizes the behavior of the system.
Instead of cosimulating, the software sends this equation set directly to the Simulink solvers for simultaneous integration with the rest of the Simulink model. Sensor blocks in the software measure values for hydromechanical variables, such as pressure, flow, position, velocity and force, and translate these signals into standard Simulink blocks. These sensor and source blocks allow users to develop a control algorithm in Simulink and connect it with a SimHydraulics network.
The software has a customizable library of common hydraulic fluids and capabilities to model and simulate the conversion of hydraulic power into driving torques and forces for mechanical motion and the effects of opening and closing valves. When combined with SimMechanics, SimDriveline and SimPowerSystems, SimHydraulics allows users to model complex interactions in hydromechanical and hydroelectrical systems.
Target applications for the software include automotive, aerospace, defense and industrial equipment, such as modeling automatic transmissions, actuating flight control surfaces, and actuating heavy equipment.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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