E-Pneumatics is one of the most heavily used in the world of manufacturing and transportation. In a nutshell, this makes use of compressed air or inert, unreactive gases. This is a special branch of engineering, which primarily utilizes pressurized air. There are several e-pneumatic principles that are employed here, with air pressure and volume being the most common. This branch makes use of solenoid valves which could either be manual or automatic, and are touted as a safer and more flexible alternative to actuators and motors.
As previously mentioned, the gases that are used in these systems are inert, or non-reactive in nature. In factories, they make use of compressed air, as a sustainable supply could be utilized through the compressing of atmospheric air. The air that is used is bereft of moisture, with a small quantity of oil being added to prevent corrosion and lubricate components. The gas is almost always just air, which is composed of 78% Nitrogen. Carbon Dioxide is also used in smaller applications, such as for Robot Wars machines.
There are several practical applications when it comes to e-Pneumatics, and this is used beyond the realm of manufacturing and transportation. As a matter of fact, this is utilized in construction, mining, as well as in dentistry. Compressed air, in these cases if often used as a means of applying force onto a certain material, or to move or elevate something from one point to another.
Hydraulics vs. Pneumatics
These two systems share several similarities. Having said that, both of these pneumatics and hydraulics are fluid power applications. Pneumatics makes use of compressible gas, or a pure gas which is suitable, which hydraulics uses incompressible liquid media like oil. A lot of these industrial pneumatic applications make use of pressures which are 80 to 100 pounds per square inch, with hydraulic applications being much higher than that.