Dashpots and snubbers are common devices for pneumatic applications, allowing for the movement of a load to be managed for achieving optimal deceleration and motion damping. While snubbers and dashpots are separate components with different characteristics, both devices share the common feature of having a glass cylinder, polished bore, and precision piston. Additionally, both devices operate through the use of ambient air that is controllably forced through an orifice. Nevertheless, dashpots are commonly used for managing force and velocity with precision, while snubbers promise accurate impact control for damping. To better understand the roles of both part types and their uses, we will briefly discuss each.
With the use of a connecting rod, the dashpot can allow for a load to be taken on by its piston which is located within the cylinder. Either extending the rod and piston to provide a pull or retracting the rod and piston for a push, the assembly can better manage the stroke of a movement in either direction depending upon the needs of the assembly. With the use of encapsulated air within the cylinder, movement can be better managed through air pressure. As the piston and rod are pushed into the cylinder with an applied force, the cylinder air pressure will rise. Meanwhile, a pull motion will cause pressure to drop, resulting in the formation of a vacuum within the assembly.
The pull motion provided by dashpots is best for when motion is to be managed across the entirety of a stroke. Due to the drop in air pressure and the formation of a vacuum, the dashpot can rapidly form a damping force even with a small distance of movement, and the vacuum will assist the component in returning to a resting phase when the force is released. Push movements, meanwhile, are best for minimizing the impact at the finish of a stroke. As the piston and rod move into the cylinder, air pressure will quickly rise and create a stopping force. Due to the motion of components and the increase of air pressure, pulling movements can sometimes create a bounce on the air column.
Snubbers, also commonly referred to as shock absorbers, differ from dashpots in the fact that the managed load is not connected to the piston and damping is only carried out through push motions. As the load begins to exert force on the piston rod, a resulting downward movement will cause air within the cylinder to become compressed. As air pressure rises from downward movement, opposing force will slow the movement of the piston through controlled deceleration. It is important that the amount of damping accommodates the load in question, as excess damping will result in bouncing while too little will cause a hard landing. If a force is too great and the movement of the assembly results in a hard landing, the snubber and surrounding components may be damaged. Nevertheless, such devices are commonly used for shock reduction, providing better absorption and accuracy in movement as compared to dashpots.
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