What are Ball Valves For?
A ball valve uses a ball to control the flow of liquid or gas, and on its center is a port.
When the valve is open, the port is parallel or is aligned with the pipeline connected to it. This allows substances to pass through. When the valve is closed, the port is perpendicular to the pipeline, which then blocks the substances.
Most ball valves can only rotate by 90 degrees, but there are also instances when a 360 rotation is necessary. Valves can also have two, three, or four ports. The most common is the two-way valve, which is operated using a lever. The valve opens when the lever is aligned with the pipe and closes when the handle is perpendicular to the pipe.
The right type of ball valve will depend on the application. You need to consider the temperature and pressure that the valves will be exposed to. You also need to look into the size and type of valve, the number of ports, as well as its configurations.
If the control system is complex, an actuator may be necessary to help control the flow of substances through the pipes. The actuator is motor-operated to ensure that the flow remains accurate despite the changing pressures.
Ball Valve Materials
Ball valves can be made from various materials, such as brass, stainless steel, and PVC.
- Brass. Brass is made of copper and zinc. Brass ball valves are commonly used due to their mechanical properties. They can be used for oil, gas, and even for drinking water.
- Stainless Steel. For harsher or more aggressive environments, stainless steel ball valves are ideal. They can be used for chemicals and swimming pools and can withstand high temperatures.
- PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride). PVC ball valves are not as strong as brass or stainless steel and therefore are not suitable for high temperatures. It can be used for irrigation and drainage purposes.
Why Use Ball Valves
Ball valves are widely used in industrial settings as they are durable and reliable. They shut off perfectly when in a closed position, making them an ideal choice in securing the flow of substances, such as natural gases and potent chemicals.
They may not be ideal, however, in conditions where they will be exposed to constant throttling as this can impact their performance.
Another advantage of ball valves is its simple and compact design. Ball valves are easy to operate. They do not have to be taken out from the pipeline should they require repairs. They also do not need to be lubricated to ensure a tight seal.
Ball valves are also more affordable as compared to other valve types.
The only disadvantage perhaps of ball valves is that they are not suitable for throttling applications. This setup can cause the ball valve seat to break down. If the application you are considering involves high throttling, you need to look into the design of the ball valve to ensure it will hold up.
Other than that, ball valves are efficient for a wide range of applications. They are in demand in oil, chemical, natural gas, and manufacturing industries. They are most likely present in our homes and almost anywhere else we go.
Though we may not realize it, ball valves help make daily living easier.