The Parts of a Valve: What Do They Do?
A compressor valve is a simple mechanical device that seals a cylinder during compression. But what are the different parts of a valve, and what do they do?
A compressor valve has to be strong enough to withstand the high pressures of a compressor and often must be resistant to high heat and exposure to corrosive materials.
It also must be delicate; if a single piece is not perfectly sized, the seal will not be complete, and the compressor will be inefficient.
Valves are designed to be tough, but they are relatively easy to take apart in case a single component fails and needs to be replaced.
8 Important Parts of a Valve
There are several main parts to a compressor valve as well as a number of periphery parts that are essential for a compressor running smoothly.
Different parts of a valve have provide different needs that keep compressors working properly. These include:
- Valve Seats
- Valve Plates
- Dampening Plates
- Profile Rings
- Springs or Spring Plates
- Periphery Parts
Below, you’ll find everything to know about the different parts of a valve, and why they’re important in the grand scheme of compressors.
1. Valve Seat
The valve seat is the part that you can see without taking the valve apart.
This plate, often made of metal, is secured to the cylinder and acts as an anchor for all the other parts of the valve.
It must be able to withstand the rough treatment of raw materials, which can vary depending on the industry.
The valve seat also functions as a guard to keep grainy materials away from the more delicate inner parts, although there is frequently a guard plate that also serves this function.
2. Valve Plate
In plate compressors, there are several plates. The most delicate of these is the valve plate, which is the part of the valve that stands in the gaps to keep gas from flowing while the valve is closed.
It is often made of a plastic-based material so that it has increased flexibility and can adequately stop the gas or liquid from flowing during compression, but can also be made of a durable metal, which is more useful in some applications.
3. Dampening plate
These parts of a valve are not always used in compressors.
While not used in all plate valves, a dampening plate appears in many valves which have flimsier valve plates.
A dampening plate is placed directly under the valve plate and helps absorb much of the shock that comes with extreme pressure which would otherwise cause the valve plate to wobble and potentially break or fail to seal.
4. Profile rings
A profile ring is often made of a flexible material such as thermoplastic and functions as a seal between the various plates in a plate valve. Profile rings may be small and fit along the centerbolt, or they may be large and slatted and rest against the valve plate to help create a tighter seal.
In either case, the profile ring is essential to creating a tight seal in harsh conditions.
5. Springs or Spring Plates
Springs and spring plates are responsible for creating the opening feature of the valve.
Some valve plates are designed with springs and divots for the springs to rest in, but some spring plates function as a spring itself, having been made with a flexible material that springs back into place even after many compressions.
The function of the spring plate is simple: the spring is compressed to allow the valve to close completely, and when released, the spring forces plates apart, allowing materials to flow through once more.
Gaskets can be made of many materials, but the material must be flexible enough to fill in any imperfections in the plates it is sealing. Some metals can do this, but more frequently gaskets are made of rubber polymers or plastics, which have more flexibility.
The correct gasket will be able to withstand the corrosive effects of the material that is passed through the valve, so for some applications metal is necessary, but in others, a plastic gasket will hold up well.
In compressors that are used with corrosive materials such as items with high temperature or with debris that can easily break down many types of gaskets, an O-ring is often used instead of, or in conjunction with, a normal gasket.
The o-ring in a compressor valve fits tidily in a groove along the edge of the plates and is made of rubber or a rubber composite.
Compared to gaskets, which are normally flat, an o-ring is normally rounded, which allows it to have the flexibility to seal up the edge of the plates. When the valve closes, the plates are forced up against the o-ring, which smooshes it into any gaps, creating a seal.
If the valve is not creating a tight seal, check the gasket or o-ring to make sure it has not become cracked or dented, which can cause a poor fit and leaks.
8. Periphery Parts of a Valve
Some other parts of a valve include the following:
- Centerbolts and studs
- Guide pins
- Guide rings
These peripheral compressor parts are used to guide the plates and support the unit as a whole.
The centerbolt, as its name implies, is at the center of the plates. The plates are threaded onto it. Gaskets, washers and nuts are secured to the centerbolt to hold everything in place and maintain a seal.
Conversely, guide pins are inserted along the edges of the plates to keep them from spinning and allow perfect alignment, which prevents improper sealing.
Depending on the industry intended, different materials can be used for each of these parts of a valve. Each can become chipped or corroded, so replacing them routinely can prevent mechanical failure to the rest of the valve.
How The Parts Work Together
All these parts work together to alternately create an aperture for materials to flow through and a seal to keep them in the cylinder during compression.
Essentially, in order to open, the various plates are forced by pressure and springs along the centerbolt, which creates gaps between the plates that allows materials through.
The valve must also close smoothly.
In some compressors, the springs are compressed by a switch, while in others the pressure alone is enough to compress the springs and force the valve closed. When the valve is closed, the plates and gaskets are forced together, making it impossible for materials to pass through.
It’s important to find a reputable supplier of compressor valve parts to ensure your compressor runs as smooth as possible. Contact KB Delta today.
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