Types of Valves

What are valves?

Valves are equipment that are designed to control fluids, they can open, close, regulate, or isolate. They can be as small as fractions of an inch and as large as 360 inches. They can be as simple as the copper valve found in a hardware store and as complex as custom-made valves in exotic alloys for nuclear reactors.

Valves are one of the oldest products known to man, they are found in many of our everyday activities such as turning on the water in the sink.

 Main parts of a valve

Each type of valve has its own design features which govern its main parts, however there are 4 main components that every valve regardless of its type. These parts are the stem, the closing membrane, the body, and the seat.

  1. The stem: Part that transfer the energy from the operator to the valve closing membrane to move the valve
  2. Closing membrane: Part of the valve that is used to block the fluid flow
  3. Body: Pressure containing envelope
  4. Seat: Part of the valve that is normally located between the closing member and the body to achieve the shut off rating of the valve

Classification according to the application

Depending on its function valves can be classified as:

  1. Isolation (ON/OFF) valves
  2. Control Valves

Isolation (ON/OFF) valves

Isolation or ON/OFF valves: Used in those applications where the only function of the valve is to isolate the fluid flow, it is understood then that these valves are either completely open or closed.

They are used to isolate sections in application such as maintenance and repair and are located so that the isolated areas do not cause inconveniences to other service areas. Usually located to isolate pumping equipment or control valves.

Control Valves

Control Valves: Used in those applications where the function of the valve is to control the fluid by generating a pressure drop through the incorporation of a restriction that changes the turbulence of the fluid, thus regulating flow, outlet pressures or changing the direction of the fluid. The selection of a control valve is based on the calculation of the flow coefficient required to generate the control conditions at maximum, minimum and normal operating conditions, it is recommended that the valve is selected to modulate is these ranges within 30% to 80% of his career.

 Where do we use valves in industrial applications?

In industrial process valves are commonly used  to control the process as pressure reducing and reliving valves, to control flow as balancing valves, drain valves, shut off maintenance valves or as safety devices as emergency shutdown valves and in many other applications.

Valve Construction

Because control valves are designed to modulate and be partially open their internal parts are especially susceptible to damage  due to fluids that are either corrosive or contain abrasive materials  for this reason the valve construction materials are essential to fit the application. Most control valves will have a hard coating applied to the most critical areas of their internal parts, such as chrome carbide or tungsten carbide overlays.

Temperature is an important factor when selecting the type of control valve to use , normally valves sealing parts, such as the seats, are made of resilient materials due to its cost and sealing properties, these valves are commonly known as resilient seated valves. However resilient materials present temperature limitations, in applications where the temperature is high, they might no longer be a suitable solution. For example, crude oil entering the refinery is first distilled in the crude distillation section and the crude preheat furnace temperature range is typically 370-380°C (698 – 716°F). In this application a metal seated control valve might be needed to ensure the integrity of the sealing materials and the shut off rating of the valve.  Low temperatures can also present a challenge when selecting the right materials for a valve, in temperatures lower than -29C standard grades of carbon steel such as ASTM A216 WCB might no longer suitable, in those cases low temperature carbon steels such as ASTM A352 LCC are required to ensure the integrity of the valve body at the designed working pressure under low temperature conditions. In cryogenic applications stainless steel materials such as ASTM A316 are needed.

How to Choose the right valve?

There are many  valves options to choose from such as globe valve, full port, reduce port, V-port and segmented ball valves,  gate valves knife gate, sleeve pinch valves, butterfly valves, plug valves, needle valves, check valves and many more. So how do you choose a valve for your application?

First, you should understand what you want the valve to do. Valves are used in functions such as Isolation, direction control, , flow control, pressure reduction, pressure relief, excess-flow protection, and pressure protection.

When selecting a valve, it is critical to match the type of valve with the application. As mentioned, the characteristics of the fluid; temperature, composition, pressure are critical to the selection of the right materials. To select the right valve understanding the function of the valve is crucial. To control clean fluids such as drinking water or oils, valves with internal cavities such as v-ported ball valves or globe valves are suitable since the risk of getting material built up in the internal parts of the valves that could latter affect the ability to shut off is minimal. However, for applications with a percentage of solids such a tailings, valves with minimal internal contact areas or valves with internal components are less susceptible to damage due to erosion are needed, such as hard coated knife gate valves or pinch valve .

On/Off Isolation Valve Typical Use Table

Valve Type

Closure membrane movement

Shut-off Speed

Typical Use

Ball Valve

Rotary

Rapid

Widely used in many industrial process applications. Conventional ball valves are most used for fluid isolation when fast operating times and tight shut off are necessary or critical or when full port without restrictions is needed.

They are used in the oil and natural gas industry, but also find a place in many sectors of manufacturing, chemical storage, and even residential uses.

Gate Valve

 Linear

Gradual

General industrial use, in large process where the fluid is abrasive. They are widely used for equipment isolation applications, pumps, control valves, turbines, or instruments. Also, in simple insulation applications such as drains

Butterfly Valve

Rotary

Rapid

 Use in a wide range of applications within water supply, wastewater treatment, fire protection and gas supply, in the chemical and oil industries, in fuel handling systems, power generation, etc. Most commonly use as isolation valves however can be used as control valves when selecting the proper design for modulation services

Plug Valve

Rotary

Rapid

Widely used in many industrial process applications, are most used for fluid isolation when fast operating times and tight shut off are necessary or critical.

They are used in the oil and natural gas industry, but also find a place in many sectors of manufacturing, chemical storage, and even residential uses.

Knife Gate Valve

Linear

Gradual

Widely used in many industrial process applications in process with high viscosity fluids or when high percentage of solids are present.  Use mainly as isolation valves when tight shut off is necessary or critical or when full port without restrictions is needed

Pinch Valve

Linear

Gradual

Widely used in many industrial process applications in process with high viscosity fluids or when high percentage of solids are present.  Use mainly as isolation valves when tight shut off is necessary or critical or when full port without restrictions is needed

Control Valve Typical Use Table

Valve Type

Closure membrane movement

Shut-off Speed

Typical Use

Globe Valve

Linear

Rapid

Use primarily for regulation purposes. They can be considered general purpose flow control valves, use in pumping stations as pressure reliving valves, pressure conserving valves, to control the inlets of the ponds, among others.

Butterfly

 Rotary

Gradual

General industrial use, can be used as control valves when selecting the proper design for modulation services, in large process where the fluid is abrasive, or temperature are extreme

V- Port Ball Valve

Rotary

Rapid

Widely used in many industrial and lighter process control applications. Designed for fluid control most used in air, gas or hydrocarbon lines since they can provide reliable shutoff

Segmented Ball Valve

Rotary

Rapid

Widely used in many industrial process control applications. Like V-port ball valves these can provide tight shutoff while providing a good flow control characteristic relation

Control Knife Gate Valve

Linear

Gradual

Especially designed for slurry or extremely abrasive applications since their design minimize the contact area with the fluid and centralize the flow so other comments in the system are also protected against severe abrasion.

Cone Sleeve Pinch Valve

Linear

Gradual

Most commonly used for slurry or abrasive applications since their design ensures that the fluid contact area is made of a resilient material and therefore less susceptible to damage due to abrasion.

Valve Actuators

Valves need energy to be operated, the energy required depends directly on the design and the pressure differential across the valve. Depending on whether this power source is provided by the effort of the operator or by an external source, the valves can be classified as;

Manuals: Valves that depend on the effort of a human to be operated. Depending on the torque required, manual valves come with a lever or handwheel coupled directly to the stem or with a gearbox that provides a torque multiplier for larger diameter valves or operating pressure

Automated: Valves that depend on an external power source to be operated. This external power is used by equipment called actuators.

Learn more about selecting a valve actuator and the type of valve actuators available.

Pneumatic actuators: Use air pressure to provide the force required to operate the valve.

Hydraulic actuators: Use pressure from a non-compressible fluid to provide the force required to operate the valve, usually oil. Usually used in applications where the force or torque required to operate the valve, or the operating speed is very high, or in applications where the valve is in remote locations.

Electric actuators: Use electric power to provide the force or torque required to operate the valve. Usually used in applications where pneumatic or hydraulic pressure is not available or in applications where data collection on valve operation is required.

Electrohydraulic actuators: Use electrical power to drive an oil pump and operate a hydraulic actuator that provides the force or torque required to operate the valve. Usually used in applications where pneumatic or hydraulic pressure is not available and in applications where it is necessary for the valve to have a fail-safe position in case of loss of electrical power. Depending on the force or torque required, a valve can be operated using stored energy in the form of batteries. Very common in the mining and oil company.

 

 

 

Written by Cowan Dynamics

May 11, 2021

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