Phase-shift high-speed valve for switch-mode control

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14 Scopus citations


Hydraulic applications requiring a variation in the speed or torque of actuators have historically used throttling valve control or a variable displacement pump or motor. An alternative method is switch-mode control that uses a high-speed valve to rapidly switch between efficient on and off states, allowing any hydraulic actuator to have virtually variable displacement. An existing barrier to switch-mode control is a fast and efficient high-speed valve. A novel high-speed valve concept is proposed that uses a phase shift between two tiers of continuously rotating valve spools to achieve a pulse-width modulated flow with any desired duty ratio. An analysis of the major forms of energy loss, including throttling, compressibility, viscous friction, and internal leakage, is performed on a disk spool architecture. This analysis also explores the use of a hydrodynamic thrust bearing to maintain valve clearance. A nonoptimized design example of a phase-shift valve operating at 100 Hz switching frequency at 10 l/min demonstrates an efficiency of 73% at a duty ratio of 1 and 64% at 0.75 duty ratio. Numerous opportunities exist for improving this efficiency including design changes and formal optimization. The phase-shift valve has the potential to enable switch-mode hydraulic circuits. The valve has numerous benefits over existing technology yet requires further refinement to realize its full potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011003
JournalJournal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • PWM hydraulics
  • four-quadrant operation
  • on-off valve
  • switch-mode hydraulics
  • virtually variable displacement

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