How Pneumatic Valves Make Jackhammers Work

pneumatic valves

Concrete and asphalt, made to last decades, sometimes need to be removed to make way for a new project. In mining, rocks need to be removed to make digging faster. Before the invention of jackhammers (sometimes called pneumatic drills), heavy metal-headed sledgehammers were used. Today, with the number of concrete and asphalt projects, there won’t be enough chiropractors to keep the back of construction workers aligned. Jackhammers work well because of its air ram pneumatic component and pneumatic valves.

Compressed air is used inside pneumatic valves

If you never used a jackhammer before, the concept and process used are the same when you use a pneumatic nail gun, tire gauge, or bicycle or ball pump. The force of air pressure is used to power a jackhammer. Similarly, liquid pressure is used for hydraulics pneumatic systems.

The pressurised air used in pneumatic systems is a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. When air is trapped in a container, such as a pneumatic valve, the pressurised air is always finding a way to escape and the molecules are continuously bouncing back and forth along the walls of the container. 

What makes a jackhammer pound that hard?

In truth, the only energy involved in making a jackhammer pound up and down (and producing all that noise) is supplied by a pressurised air hose. The hose is made of really thick plastic and carries high-pressure air from a separate air-compressor unit that is run by a diesel engine.

The air compressor is a bit like a giant ball pump. When the worker presses down on the trigger, air pumps from a compressor into the jackhammer through a pneumatic valve. Pneumatic valves act like an on and off switch. When the trigger is pressed, the air flows through the pneumatic valve and into air tubes that will power the heavy piledriver that will power the drill bit at the bottom. 

Who invented the jackhammer?

You could say that whoever invented the jackhammer also invented pneumatic valves that control the flow of air that pounds down on the piledriver. The earliest patent filed for a jackhammer belongs to Charles Brady King on May 19, 1892. King’s design is more elaborate than present-day jackhammers. The design was simply refined through the years.

Master Mac 2000

As small as pneumatic valves are, they are essential to everyday tools such as jackhammers. MasterMac2000 understands this essentiality since it was founded in 1989. It has grown to become one of Australia’s largest privately-owned distributors of quality brands such as Univer and Tolomatic pneumatic components and other valves and cylinders. Talk to a Master Mac 2000 representative today by visiting the website at for solutions to your industry needs.

Leave a Comment