What is hydraulics?
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What Does hydraulics Mean
The etymological journey of hydraulics begins in the Greek language with the word hydraulís , which derived in hydraulikós . This term, in turn, came to Latin as hydraulĭcus .
Hydraulics is a branch of physics that is dedicated to the analysis of the movement and balance of fluids . A fluid, in turn, is a liquid or a gas : a substance whose molecules are held together by a weak force of cohesion or attraction. This makes the fluids take the shape of the container where they are.
As a noun, the idea of hydraulics can also be used to refer to the techniques, methodologies and resources that allow to contain, guide and take advantage of water . In this sense, the concept is linked to the use of water to produce energy, the development of aqueducts, etc.
Hydraulics and hydraulics are also adjectives that qualify the energy produced by the movement of water and that which can move thanks to water or another fluid.
The hydraulic energy is produced from the potential energy and the kinetic energy of tidal currents or waterfalls. It is usually considered as a renewable energy, although its environmental impact is high when it requires the construction of large dams or the modification of the flow of a river, for example.
Thanks to hydraulic power, it is possible to generate electricity . With this objective in mind, hydroelectric plants are built , which are facilities where the water passes through a hydraulic turbine to transmit the energy to an electric generator.
A hydraulic work , finally, is a construction of engineering that has water as the protagonist. Dams, canals and locks, to name a few, are hydraulic works.
The history of hydraulics is really vast. Let's not forget that the first civilizations settled along various rivers, a strategy that allowed them to have a constant supply of water for their consumption and, over time, for their agricultural activities and personal hygiene. It took many centuries for humans to learn to use water in more sophisticated ways.
In ancient civilizations, the wisdom related to water and its various uses was highly prized and kept secret . In ancient Egypt, for example, this knowledge was passed from one generation to the next and included data about floods that helped them anticipate and make decisions before it was too late.
One of the most important figures in this area was Archimedes , a Greek mathematician, engineer, astronomer, physicist, and inventor. He is considered the founder of hydrostatics (the part of hydraulics that is dedicated to the study of phenomena related to the fluids contained in some kind of container) and of differential calculus (in mathematical analysis, it is the branch that studies the change of the functions that are deduced from the one that its variables pass through).
It is known as a hydraulic , caz or water mill , among other names, the machine that serves to take advantage of the driving force of natural water courses. It is an ancient invention, whose fundamental model consists of a large turbine that is involved in a mechanical process of force and translation and throughout history it has had various applications, from irrigation to the production of electricity.
Specifically in the field of hydraulics, Archimedes invented the endless spiral, which is still used today for lifting liquids. Much later, in the 1880s, the first hydroelectric power station was built in Great Britain, as part of the so-called 'renaissance' of hydraulic power that led to the emergence of the electric generator. Later, the experience and technological advances of the time led to the creation of the hydraulic turbine .