The Bladder Accumulator is a type of bladder valve that stores hydraulic fluid. It works by balancing the pressures of hydraulic oil and precharge gas. It is usually precharged to approximately 100 psi below the minimum pressure in the system. This precharge prevents the bladder from bottoming out against the poppet. However, if the precharge is too high, the bladder may extrude under the poppet and be torn.
The Bladder Accumulator is available in several different configurations. One type is the vulcanized-seam bladder accumulator. These are often used for applications where the cycle demand is small but high. The other type is the diaphragm bladder accumulator. Both types have the same design, but the diaphragm is made of carbon steel and has a pre-charge of nitrogen.
The Bladder Accumulator is comprised of two separate sections: a gas and a fluid section. In the gas section, the bladder acts as a gas-proof screen and the fluid surrounding it is connected to a hydraulic circuit. When pressure is increased, the gas pressure around the bladder expands, forcing the stored fluid into the circuit.
It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. The accumulator should never be pre-charged with air or oxygen. The compressed air can cause an explosion or fire. Always read the safety label before pre-charging. New accumulators usually have a safety sticker warning against pre-charging. However, these stickers are often scratched or painted over.