Pneumatic Tank Calculations


How do teams calculate how many air tanks they need on the robot wity an onboard compressor? Or do you guess and add more/remove some based off testing?

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We calculated the volume of the cylinders and estimated how many times they would be actuated throughout the match, did some napkin math using Boyle’s Law, and planned for more volume than we needed.


My design spreadsheet has a pneumatics calculator that helps do exactly that. You tell it how many cyinders you have, what size they are, and how often they are actuated. Then you can play with the number and size of tanks and the type of compressor and see how your air usage changes throughout the match.

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The main thing is to consider why you need the air tanks. If you are using relatively small volumes (less than a tank of air, not too frequently) then you may only need a single tank to equalize the air flow. If you are doing something which requires a large amount of air (this year, the only thing I find likely is a climb function), you should probably plan for enough air storage to complete the function, with a buffer of perhaps 50%. If your situation is more complex, check out @AriMB’s spreadsheet above.