Top Thrill Dragster
Hydraulic systems work because fluids cannot be compressed. Fluids can be used to move force from one location to another. The hydraulic system on this coaster operates at 320 bar, or about 4,600 pounds per square inch (psi). (For compression, hydraulic systems on the wide-body jet I fly operate at 3,000 psi.) Because of the massive amount of power required in the short, four-second launch, Dragster's hydraulic pumps are supplemented by 32 accumulators. Each large accumulator bottle has a piston inside it with hydraulic fluid on one side of the piston and compressed nitrogen gas on the other side of the piston. Before a launch, the fluid pumps push more hydraulic fluid into each accumulator tank. This action moves the pistons and further compresses the nitrogen gas. The compressed gas stores energy like a spring. When the launch signal is given, valves open to allow the fluid to escape the accumulators and flow through the hydraulic motors. The fluid is fed to the motors extremely quickly thanks to the compressed nitrogen forcing the fluid out of the accumulator cylinders.
©2018 by Joel A. Rogers.