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What Is a Hydraulic Splitter?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A hydraulic splitter is a device used to split or crack concrete, stone or granite. Unlike a hydraulic log splitter that forces a wedge into a log, the hydraulic splitter is comprised of a hydraulic ram that forces a wedge between two outer components known as feathers. As the wedge is pushed through the tapered feathers, the feathers are pushed outward, against the rock or stone and a crack ensues. Unlike a jack hammer or blasting methods, the hydraulic splitter allows the quick removal of a concrete or stone object without dust, noise or danger to surrounding structures.

The typical hydraulic splitter is a handheld device that resembles a cross between a hydraulic cylinder and a jack hammer. The cylinder component of the splitter is fitted with handles, switches and hydraulic hoses. After a hole has been drilled into the rock or concrete that is to be removed, the splitter operator pushes the ram type component of the splitter into the hole until the cylinder component is flush against the outer surface of the obstacle. It is not uncommon for two to four splitters be used on a single hydraulic pump to create the crack or split. Once all splitters are inserted into the pre-drilled holes, the operator turns a switch on the end of the cylinder that sends the wedge through the tapered passage within the feathers.

As the wedge is pushed through the feathers of the hydraulic splitter, the feathers are pushed outward against the hole. This causes a split or crack to form effectively breaking the concrete or stone apart. Unlike a jack hammer that attempts to break stone by forcing a chisel into the surface of the stone, the hydraulic splitter uses inner force to create a crack without noise, dust or excessive time. The typical split produced with a hydraulic splitter is accomplished within seconds of inserting the splitter into the hole.

When the split occurs, the operator turns the switch from high pressure to low pressure and the feathers retract as the wedge is pulled back into the splitter. Benefits offered by the hydraulic splitter over other methods are time savings, the lack of dust and debris to be cleaned up after the breaking of the stone and the noise and destructive force of a blasting agent on the surrounding area. The loudest noise and most dust produced when using a splitter come from drilling the access holes for the splitters.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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