Last Updated S012022


Unit Name Hydraulics and Pneumatics
Unit Code BME106S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr. Milind Siddhpura
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites  N/A
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective in presenting this unit is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of all aspects related to the construction, design, operation, and maintenance of hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

The subject matter covered in this unit will include: the concepts related to pressure and flow; the operation of hydraulic and pneumatic system components – such as actuators and control valves; simple circuits for hydraulic and pneumatic applications; the characteristics of hydraulic oil and air; proportional and servo technology in regard to electro-hydraulic systems; and, troubleshooting procedures.

At the conclusion of this unit, students will have been imparted with the requisite knowledge and skills to design simple hydraulic and pneumatic circuits and to systematically troubleshoot system faults and undertake corrective measures.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Explain the concepts related to pressure and flow.
    Bloom's Level 2
  2. Describe the operation of hydraulic and pneumatic system components such as actuators and control valves.
    Bloom's Level 2
  3. Develop simple circuits for hydraulic and pneumatic applications.
    Bloom's Level 6
  4. Examine, in detail, the characteristics of hydraulic oil and air.
    Bloom's Level 4
  5. Compare proportional and servo technology in regard to electro-hydraulic systems.
    Bloom's Level 4
  6. Design and troubleshoot hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
    Bloom's Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Invigilated)

Example Topic: Pressure and flow concepts, Pascal’s law, Bernoulli’s Principle, hydraulic cylinders.

Due after Topic 3 10% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Mid-semester Test (Invigilated)

Coverage: Topics 1-6 cover control valves, hydraulic accessories, fluids, control valve types and their characteristics, hydraulic accessories such as reservoirs, filters, accumulators, heat exchangers, pipes, and hoses.

Students will need to answer short questions and provide solutions to simple problems on the listed topics.

Due after Topic 6 20% 2, 4

Assessment 3

Type: Practical (Report submission)

Example Topic: Design and develop circuits/systems for hydraulic applications

Students use software to complete a practical.

Due after Topic 9 20%  5, 6

Assessment 4

Type: Examination (Invigilated)

Example Topic: All topics

An examination with a mix of detailed report type questions and/or simple numerical problems to be completed in 3 hours

Final Week 40% 1 to 6

Tutorial Attendance + Weekly Homework*

* Tutorial attendance will be 5% and weekly homework will be 5%. Students will need to submit weekly homework discussed and assigned during the live tutorial.

Continuous 10% 1 to 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Suggested Textbook

• Practical Hydraulic & Pneumatic Systems: Operations and Troubleshooting, IDC Technologies, Perth

Reference Materials

• Parr, A, 2013, Hydraulics and Pneumatics: A Technician’s and Engineer’s Guide, revised edn, Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN-13: 978-0080966748. Online version available at:
• Peer-reviewed Journals
• Knovel library:
• IDC Technologies
• Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

Topic 1 

Pressure and Flow Concepts

1. Definition and units of pressure measurement
2. Pascal's law and applications
3. Pressure/force relationship
4. Fluid flow/discharge
5. Steady and unsteady flows
6. Bernoulli's principle
7. Laminar and turbulent flows
8. Pressure/flow relationship

9. Fluid properties

Topic 2

Hydraulic Cylinders

1. Classification (single vs. double acting)
2. Cylinder construction and mounting
3. Cylinder cushioning
4. Seals
5. Cylinder design checklist
6. Common cylinder problems

Topic 3

Hydraulic Directional Control Valves

1. Classification and symbols
1. Poppet, Check and Spool valves
2. Directly and indirectly, operated valves
3. Valve actuation methods
4. 2, 3, and 4-way direction control valves
5. Positive and negative overlapping
6. Center conditions

Topic 4

Hydraulic Pressure and Flow Control Valves

1. Relief valve
2. Surge pressure
3. Sequence valves
4. Counterbalance valves
5. Pressure reducing valves
6. Brake valves
7. Unloading valves
8. Flow control valve function and types

Topic 5

Hydraulic Accessories, Hydraulic Fluids

1. Introduction to oil reservoirs, filters, heat exchangers, pipes, hoses
2. Hydraulic fluid characteristics
3. Oil groups, Neutralization number
4. Oil contamination, cleanliness and storage
5. Oil additives
6. Common problems associated with hydraulic oil

Topics 6 and 7

Basic Hydraulic Circuits and Applications

1. Symbols of hydraulic components
2. Basic understanding of hydraulic circuits
3. Types of hydraulic circuits and their illustration
4. Design and application of hydraulic circuits
5. Advantages of hydraulic systems
6. Simulation of hydraulic circuits using relevant software.

Topic 8

Electro-Hydraulic Systems

1. Proportional solenoid
2. Proportional valve
3. Servo valve
4. Comparison of proportional and servo technology
5. Use of transducers in hydraulic systems

Topic 9

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Hydraulic Systems

1. Safety and cleanliness in hydraulic systems
2. Preventive maintenance
3. Commissioning procedures and pre-commissioning checks
4. Troubleshooting hydraulic system faults/failures
5. Prevention of pre-mature hydraulic component failures

Topic 10

Pneumatic System Fundamentals

1. Characteristics of air
2. Air generation, preparation, and distribution
3. Characteristics of pneumatic systems
4. Pneumatic symbols
5. Components of pneumatic systems
6. Pneumatic elements – control valves, actuators

Topic 11

Pneumatic Circuit Design, Maintenance and Troubleshooting

1. Pneumatic circuit design
2. Troubleshooting: flow chart analysis of pneumatic circuits
3. Maintenance of pneumatic systems

Topic 12

Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

Software/Hardware Used



  • N/A