announcement

Share facts or photos of intriguing scientific phenomena.

How do Elevators Work

How do Elevators Work

Elevators are a value addition to a building, especially buildings which have many floors. Elevators transfer people and goods from one floor to another, an elevator works with counterweights against the pull of gravity...
Marlene Alphonse
One invention that has proved to be a boon for human beings is the elevator. Be it offices, hotels, hospitals or homes, elevators can be found everywhere. The main function of these machines is to transport people and things from one floor of the building to another. With the pressing of a few buttons, you can reach the desired floor without having to climb stairs. In the earlier days only high rise buildings and hospitals had elevators. But these days, elevators are being installed even in homes. If you are planning to install one at your home then it is always better to check and compare the costs, so that you can plan and purchase the elevator for your home according to your requirement.
The Working Mechanism of Elevators
How would it feel if you are climbing stairs to the top story, huffing and puffing? Quite a tiring experience, hard to imagine. Thanks to skyscrapers and high rise buildings, elevators were introduced and have come to stay. Elevators can also be installed at home, in order to move things or people. Home elevators are normally seen in houses which are quite large. It is also useful if you have elderly people in the house. There are two types of elevators, hydraulic and cable, that are categorized according to their mechanism. Both these mechanisms are used in the working of passenger as well as freight elevators. The cable operated elevator is the commonly used model seen in buildings, malls and homes. In the earlier days, way before the cable operators were invented, hydraulic elevators were used.
In hydraulic elevators, a huge cylinder filled with fluid is used to ferry the elevator up or down. The hydraulic cylinder with the hydraulic fluid moves the elevator on the pressure exerted by the fluid on the walls of the cylinder. The compression in the hydraulic cylinder releases energy, which is then used by the elevator car to rise upwards. To lower the car, the resistance exerted by the fluid is reduced. There is a piston rod that is housed in the hydraulic chamber. It is with the help of this piston that the liquid is displaced, which in turn pushes the elevator up or down as desired. During the downward journey of the elevator, the chamber which houses the piston rod and hydraulic liquid releases the stored pressure and becomes decompressed. This energy is saved for the next time when the elevator car has to move upwards. These days hydraulic elevators can be found in floor jacks and car lifts. These are cost-effective which require minimum maintenance and have a low noise.
On the other hand, the modern version of hydraulic elevators which are the cable elevators, work on the same mechanism but are a bit modified. The elevator car is attached to eight strong cables made of steel that are operated with the help of a pulley. These cables have a weight attached on the other side and help conserve energy so that minimum energy is used while the elevator car makes its descent or ascent. The grooved pulley which is located at the top of a building balances the entire weight of the elevator. The entire movement of the elevator is monitored with the help of a computer system. It also maintains track of the buttons pushed at different levels and floor requests. The computer system works in an efficient and accurate manner to operate the elevator and caters to everyone's need on their wish to go to a particular floor.
The invention of the elevator has proven to be a boon to people, as this technological innovation reduces the workload and makes life easier. You must also be aware of the elevator safety tips so that you are not caught off guard in case there is an emergency.
Modern elevator
Inside an Elevator Shaft