How Hydraulic Hammers Work

by Rachel Murdock; Updated September 26, 2017

Hydraulic hammers are used largely by construction and demolition professionals to provide a high powered blow for digging holes or breaking up old concrete and buildings. The hammers work on the principle of hydraulics, applying Pascal's Law.

History

Blaise Pascal was a French inventor, mathematician and scientist who made important discoveries in mathematics, geometry and mechanical engineering. His discovery of the law of hydrostatics, or Pascal's Law, led to the creation of the hydraulic hammer. This law states that pressure on one part of an enclosed liquid produces equal pressure on all sides of the liquid.

Function

Hydraulic hammers, which are so powerful they are often mounted on tractors, have a compartment of pressurized, non-compressible hydraulic oil. Force is exerted onto this canister, creating an exponential amount of force on all sides of the canister. This force is captured and used to exert tons of pressure.

Uses

Hydraulic hammers are used to drive steel rods deep into the ground, drill blasting holes for quarry work, and drive piles for building or fence foundations. Other times, hydraulic hammers are used to break up old buildings, roads or vehicles. The power in the hammer depends on how large the compression chamber is and how much force is exerted on the fluid in the chamber.