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Fluid-dynamic design optimization of hydraulic proportional directional valves

Riccardo Amirantea, Luciano Andrea Catalano, Carlo Poloni, Paolo Tamburrano (University of Trieste, Polytechnic University of Bari)

This article proposes an effective methodology for the fluid-dynamic design optimization of the sliding spool of a hydraulic proportional directional valve: the goal is the minimization of the flow force at a prescribed flow rate, so as to reduce the required opening force while keeping the operation features unchanged. A full three-dimensional model of the flow field within the valve is employed to accurately predict the flow force acting on the spool. A theoretical analysis, based on both the axial momentum equation and flow simulations, is conducted to define the design parameters, which need to be properly selected in order to reduce the flow force without significantly affecting the flow rate. 

Valve internal ducts and external fictitious connection

A genetic algorithm, coupled with a computational fluid dynamics flow solver, is employed to minimize the flow force acting on the valve spool at the maximum opening. A comparison with a typical single-objective optimization algorithm is performed to evaluate performance and effectiveness of the employed genetic algorithm. The optimized spool develops a maximum flow force which is smaller than that produced by the commercially available valve, mainly due to some major modifications occurring in the discharge section. Reducing the flow force and thus the electromagnetic force exerted by the solenoid actuators allows the operational range of direct (single-stage) driven valves to be enlarged.