Within a fluid system, a ball valve serves as a form of quarter turn shut-off valve that may be used to manage the flow of liquids. With a rotary ball that has a straight bore cut through it, fluids can easily pass through the bore while it is positioned along the direction of flow. Once turned 90 degrees, the passage of fluid is removed, blocking liquids from continuing through the system. With this simple operation, ball valves serve as useful components for a great number of residential and commercial fluid applications.
In general, all types of ball valves consist of five main components which are the valve stem, o-ring, valve housing, rotary ball, and valve seat. The valve stem of the ball valve is the rotary shaft that attaches the lever to the ball, allowing for the user to adjust and control flow as necessary. With an o-ring, the stem and housing of the valve can be sealed, ensuring that no fluids escape the system to prevent leakages. To construct the o-ring, various soft materials such as nitrile rubber or plastic may be used.
The valve housing of the ball valve is what protects the internal components, as well as serves the point in which the valve may be connected to other parts. Metals such as brass and stainless steel are the most common for the construction of the housing, though PVC is also often used. Depending on the application, the housing construction can be one-, two-, or three-piece. The one-piece ball valve is the most cost efficient type, and welding is used to conjoin the valve. As such, they cannot be taken apart for any maintenance and are typically reserved for applications with low demands. Within two-piece style ball valves, parts are connected through threading. As such, these types of ball valve components may be taken apart for conducting maintenance, and the valve can be disconnected from the pipe for disassembly. Three-piece ball valves are those that are clamped together with a bolt connection, and they may not have to be entirely removed for maintenance. While remaining the highest in cost, three-piece ball valve types are the greatest for sanitary needs.
As the rotary ball provides the primary operation of the valve itself, the design of the ball is the most important. Floating ball designs are those that have valve seats that support the ball, and they can serve a diverse set of temperature applications. With a reduced bore type, the flow of liquid is reduced, and thus friction loss is caused. Despite this, the amount of loss is less than other valves and reduced bore design serves as the most common type. Trunnion ball types have support provided to the ball from the top and bottom, thus minimizing the amount of load that the valve seats are subjected to. As such, trunnion ball valve components are useful for high and low pressure applications. The full bore valve design implements a bore size that is equal to the pipe diameter, and this allows for easier maintenance and less friction. Lastly, the V-shaped bore is a design that has a V-shape profile, and this permits precise flow rates that can be optimized for linear flow.
With their simplistic design, reliability, and optimal sealing capabilities, the various types of ball valve components remain beneficial for a number of water and gas applications. No matter your operational needs, the experts at Aerospace Unlimited can help you secure everything you are searching for with ease. As a premier supplier of components for the aviation, defense, marine, medical, electronic, and IT hardware industries, we provide customers rapid lead-times and competitive pricing on all that we carry for their benefit. Get started today and see how we can serve as your strategic sourcing partner for all of your needs.