A valve is a device that controls, regulates, or directs the flow of a fluid, by closing, opening, or partially obstructing one or more passageways. Ball valves are a type of quarter turn valve that control flow using a hollow, pivoting, and perforated ball and a hole, called a port, that is bored through the middle of the valve. They are controlled in part by a handle; when the handle lies flat in alignment, the valve is open and when the handle sits at a perpendicular position, the valve is closed. Mostly, ball valves are used for on and off service of pipes containing suspended solids, slurries, liquids, or gases.
Ball valves are popular for a number of reasons, such as the fact that they have a variety of material options, the fact that they are easy to clean and simple to repair, and their varied operation options.
Ball valves may be made from materials including bronze, brass, titanium, cast iron, stainless steel, chrome and PVC and other plastics. Every material offers something different. For example, ball valves made from stainless steel are sure to be corrosion resistant and strong. PVC ball valves, on the other hand, gain all the positive qualities of this polymer, such as light weight and water, chemical, and concentrated acids resistance. Read More…
Ball valves are also available in a wide variety of sizes, from fractions of an inch, like miniature ball valves, to multiple yards in diameter. The smallest ball valves can control the flow of confined or hard-to-reach spaces. Ball valves are easy to monitor.
Also, as the ball of a ball valve rotates, the seat wipes itself, effectively preventing any buildup. Thus, ball valves may be labeled as largely self-cleaning.
Because they are available with either manual or motorized controls, ball valves are compatible with a wide variety of applications. Applications that commonly employ the services of ball valves include not only pipes, but tubing systems, equipment, and tools in virtually every industry that transports fluids. They can regulate some types of low flow valves, provide backflow prevention for valves with a swing check component, isolate systems, and provide operators with complete shut-off capabilities.
Ball valves are chosen for an application based on their qualities. First, customers must choose between two primary design options: trunnion and floating ball. A trunnion ball valve uses additional mechanisms to anchor the ball to a certain spot, where it is it serves larger and higher pressure valve applications. It is costlier than a floating ball valve, which uses a non-anchored ball that drifts into place or floats slightly downstream into the seat, providing a tight seal.
Another consideration customers may take into account is whether the valve is motorized, actuated, or manual. Motorized ball valves, per their name, use a motor to open and close itself, while actuated ball valves operate with the help of an actuator that, while sitting on top of the valve, supplies force and motion. Using an actuator, the valve may be controlled either automatically or remotely. The handle of trunnion ball valves, which rotates the ball at a one-quarter turn, may be any three of these.
Customers may also choose between a few other types of ball valves, such as flanged ball valves, multiport ball valves, non-return ball valves, and high pressure ball valves.
Flanged ball valves feature outside edges that are raised into a flange, with holes placed in alignment with the piping system in which the valve will be placed. Flanged ball valves are valued for their simplicity and the ease with which they can be installed or removed from a piping system.
Next, multiport ball valves, such as 3-way and 4-way ball valves, have multiple ports through which flow passes. The way that the flow comes in an inlet and exits one or more outlets is controlled by both the handle rotation and the shape of the inlet port. Three-way ball valves usually have T or L shaped ports, whereas 4-way ball valves usually have two L shaped ports.
Non-return ball valves, also called ball check valves, only direct fluid flow in one direction, though they do allow for both low and high pressure and temperature flows.
Finally, high pressure ball valves are those ball valves that are able to control both high and low flow applications with high temperature and pressure ratings, up to around 7500 psi.
Soon, ball valve manufacturers will be able to offer their products with even more options, including aluminum construction, less wear, and the widespread capability of throttling, which allows operators to pass variable amounts of fluid through a valve at a restricted flow. Even without these soon-to-come innovations, ball valves are an excellent investment. They have no internal components, meaning they require little maintenance and they do not retain internal debris; they are highly controlled and they are blowout proof.