Valves can be generally characterized, and are often referred to, by their closure means. Several common types are gate, ball, butterfly, and plug. Each has particular attributes which might make it more suitable or desirable for your particular application or project. Let’s look at ball valves.
|Ball Valve Cutaway View|
Courtesy Habonim USA
What are some of the potential application advantages of ball valves?
- This valve type provides leak proof service.
- With only 90 degrees of rotational movement from the open to close position, rapid operation times are possible.
- Ball valves are comparatively compact, without long stem extensions needed for some other valve types.
- Moderate operating torque requirements allow for lower powered actuators.
- Valves are available in a wide variety of body and seal construction materials, enabling their possible application with a wide array of media and temperatures.
- The port opening can be “full port”, providing an unrestricted fluid flow path in the fully open position.
- Low maintenance requirements, no lubrication needed.
Here are some characteristics that may have an impact on your selection.
|Large Industrial Trunnion Mount Ball Valve|
Courtesy Habonim USA
- There is a possibility of residual fluid being trapped in the valve port when it closes. Residue will be released to the flow path when the valve is reopened. If the trapped media may contaminate the restarted flow, this may be cause for concern.
- Applications requiring throttling of the media flow may not be handled well by this valve type. A partially open position also exposes the seals to potentially deteriorating effects of the media and its flow velocity.
- Verify that the range of available seal materials for this valve type will accommodate whatever media and operating temperature is contemplated.
A proper valve selection will provide the performance that is desired for any project, but this requires thorough knowledge of the media, operating conditions, and valve performance and application limitations. You know your process. Bring in a valve application specialist to help you match the best valve type and arrangement with your application requirements.