Is Cavitation Wear Damaging Your Hydraulic System?

Three ways to detect cavitation wear in hydraulic equipment

Hydraulic partsCavitation, or the formation and implosion of low-pressure bubbles within a high-pressure fluid, can cause metal fatigue within your vital hydraulic parts. This metal fatigue is also called cavitation, because the metal will actually be peppered with little pits or cavities caused by the shock waves produced by the imploding bubbles. Both the process and the effect of cavitation can be very bad for the life of your hydraulic system, so it’s important to identify signs of fluid cavitation early and take the steps necessary to correct them. Here are three possible ways to detect cavitation.

Watch Out for Slow Operation

Slow operation, or longer cycle times, usually forms the first indication that you may have a cavitation problem in your hydraulic equipment. Unfortunately, by the time you notice poor cycle times this means some part has already suffered enough cavitation damage to leak, causing a reduction in flow and hence also a reduction in cycle times.

Listen for Abnormal Noise

When hydraulic machinery gets overly noisy, aeration or cavitation could be to blame. Aeration typically causes louder noises that sound like hammering as large air bubbles compress and decompress. Cavitation sounds tend to be quieter and are often described as growling or rattling. Cavitation sounds are quieter because the bubbles are smaller, and they seem more like growling than like knocking because so many bubbles are imploding all at once.

Monitor Your Fluid Temperature

High fluid temperature and cavitation go hand in hand. When you fluid temperatures start to rise, this can have a negative effect on the viscosity of the fluid. As viscosity decreases, so does resistance to cavitation. You will likely see more damage from cavitation and, if the fluid temperature rise is not addressed, you may experience parts failures.

Need Help?

If you have identified any of the above symptoms in your hydraulic equipment, or want a second opinion about your findings, you can call Bernell Hydraulics. We will send a skilled professional to your work site to evaluate your equipment, help diagnose cavitation, and recommend a solution that will not only replace any damaged parts but also address the root cause of the cavitation to prevent future damage. We have tons of hydraulic parts in stock, and we can quickly access more through our connections with leading manufacturers, so you can rest assured your repair work will get done as quickly as possible. We even offer 24/7 service for emergencies.