Fluid Hydraulics (Part 1): Specific Gravity

Fats, oils, fertilizers… There’s a vast variety of fluids that can be pumped using hydraulic equipment. Each fluid, however, differs from the next, which is why it is so incredibly important that you understand how each fluid reacts under certain conditions. 

This starts with understanding the various factors that influence each fluid. Thus, in part 1 of Fluid Hydraulics we will be discussing specific gravity.

As briefly discussed in Pump Dynamics (Part 2), specific gravity is the ratio of a fluid’s density to that of water. Water has a specific gravity of 1, so other fluids with a specific gravity of 1 are neutrally buoyant in water.

A fluid with a specific gravity of 0.5 weighs half as much as the same volume of water and will float. Oil, fat and crude oil are all examples of fluids with specific gravity values less than that of water.

Fluids with a specific gravity greater than 1 are denser than water and (ignoring surface tension effects) will sink.

Outside of the hydraulics realm, specific gravity is commonly used as a simple means of obtaining information about the concentration of solutions of various materials, such as brines, hydrocarbons, sugar solutions and acids.

The reason water is used as a reference point is because it is the most abundant fluid on the planet. If you’re ever unsure whether or not the fluid you are pumping weighs more or less than water, just remember — if it floats, it’s lighter!

By educating our customers about the machinery they rely on for their day-to-day operations, C&B Equipment can help increase uptime, while decreasing the need for costly off-site repairs. That’s what we call Uptime Solutioneering™.


Comments for this post are closed.