Piston pumps can be constant-displacement or variabledisplacement pumps. The common features of design and operation that are applicable to all piston-type hydraulic pumps are described in the following paragraphs. Pistontype power-driven pumps have flanged mounting bases for the purpose of mounting the pumps on the accessory drive cases of aircraft engines. A pump drive shaft, which turns the mechanism, extends through the pump housing slightly beyond the mounting base. Torque from the driving unit is transmitted to the pump drive shaft by a drive coupling.
The drive coupling is a short shaft with a set of male splines on both ends. The splines on one end engage with female splines in a driving gear; the splines on the other end engage with female splines in the pump drive shaft. Pump drive couplings are designed to serve as safety devices. The shear section of the drive coupling, located midway between the two sets of splines, is smaller in diameter than the splines. If the pump becomes unusually hard to turn or becomes jammed, this section shears, preventing damage to the pump or driving unit. [Figure 12-25] The basic pumping mechanism of piston-type pumps consists of a multiple-bore cylinder block, a piston for each bore, and a valve plate with inlet and outlet slots. The purpose of the valve plate slots is to let fluid into and out of the bores as the pump operates. The cylinder bores lie parallel to and symmetrically around the pump axis. All aircraft axial-piston pumps have an odd number of pistons. [Figure 12-26]
Bent Axis Piston Pump
A typical constant-displacement axial-type pump is shown in Figure 12-27. The angular housing of the pump causes a corresponding angle to exist between the cylinder block and the drive shaft plate to which the pistons are attached. It is this angular configuration of the pump that causes the pistons to stroke as the pump shaft is turned. When the pump operates, all parts within the pump (except the outer races of the bearings that support the drive shaft, the cylinder bearing pin on which the cylinder block turns, and the oil seal) turn together as a rotating group. At one point of rotation of the rotating group, a minimum distance exists between the top of the cylinder block and the upper face of the drive shaft plate. Because of the angled housing at a point of rotation 180° away, the distance between the top of the cylinder block and the upper face of the drive shaft plate is at a maximum. At any given moment of operation, three of the pistons are moving away from the top face of the cylinder block, producing a partial vacuum in the bores in which these pistons operate. This occurs over the inlet port, so fluid is drawn into these bores at this time. On the opposite side of the cylinder block, three different pistons are moving toward the top face of the block. This occurs while the rotating group is passing over the outlet port causing fluid to be expelled from the pump by these pistons. The continuous and rapid action of the pistons is overlapping in nature and results in a practically nonpulsating pump output.Inline Piston Pump
The simplest type of axial piston pump is the swash plate design in which a cylinder block is turned by the drive shaft. Pistons fitted to bores in the cylinder block are connected through piston shoes and a retracting ring so that the shoes bear against an angled swash plate. As the block turns, the piston shoes follow the swash plate, causing the pistons to reciprocate. The ports are arranged in the valve plate so that the pistons pass the inlet as they are pulled out, and pass the outlet as they are forced back in. In these pumps, displacement is determined by the size and number of pistons, as well as their stroke length, which varies with the swash plate angle. This constant-displacement pump is illustrated in Figure 12-26.
The vane-type power pump is also a constant-displacement pump. It consists of a housing containing four vanes (blades), a hollow steel rotor with slots for the vanes, and a coupling to turn the rotor. [Figure 12-28] The rotor is positioned off center within the sleeve. The vanes, which are mounted in the slots in the rotor, together with the rotor, divide the bore of the sleeve into four sections. As the rotor turns, each section passes one point where its volume is at a minimum and another point where its volume is at a maximum. The volume gradually increases from minimum to maximum during the first half of a revolution and gradually decreases from maximum to minimum during the second half of the revolution. As the volume of a given section increases, that section is connected to the pump inlet port through a slot in the sleeve. Since a partial vacuum is produced by the increase in volume of the section, fluid is drawn into the section through the pump inlet port and the slot in the sleeve. As the rotor turns through the second half of the revolution and the volume of the given section is decreasing, fluid is displaced out of the section, through the slot in the sleeve aligned with the outlet port, and out of the pump.