Why Pipe Valves Deserve Great Appreciation
Pipe valves provide essential actions when it comes to a well-working system. Read further to learn more about why they deserve attention and appreciation.
When most professionals deliberate between general industrial piping system design and material choices, valves are probably the last thing on their minds. In most cases, the significant considerations center on fittings and pipes, including compatibility characteristics, the pipe – as well as the suitable material’s pressure and temperature.
But pipe valves are not supposed to be afterthoughts, especially since decisions revolving around them are vast. The number of valves within a system varies, and this depends primarily on the major purpose of the piping system.
In this post, you will learn more about valves and how important they are in controlling the flow. This contributes to the significant success of the system. You will also discover why valves should never be thrown to the back burner.
What is the Primary Purpose of Valves?
Valves are crucial to the success of any system. They are designed to efficiently control, stop, or restrict fluid flow via a piping system. Types of valves include:
- Globe valves
- Ball valves
- Check valves
- Gate valves
- Diaphragm valves
- Wafer or butterfly valves, etc.
When valves are installed in a system, they are designed to do the following:
- Hold off reverse flow via check valves.
- Check the cooling rates of fluid or water via cooling lines in order to influence the temperature.
- Prevent flow for system balancing.
- Automatically restrict the flow in case of a system failure.
- Divert flow from one line to another at a 3-way valve.
- Regulate the flow of concentrated bases or acids that flow through a line.
These, more than anything else, indicate that valves are much more important than they are made out to be.
Why Do Pipe Valves Even Matter?
No one really knows why valves are not often discussed, especially when planning efficient piping systems. This is despite the valves’ comprehensive or encompassing role in boosting safety, enhancing efficiency, and ensuring systems remain up and running.
However, it is safe to assume that valves are rarely discussed among specialists due to the minimal costs they are associated with. This is a valid explanation for anyone who looks at the overall cost of setting up a system comprising of huge, Schedule 80 pipes and fittings.
But when you evaluate the numerous valve options of a wide variety of materials during the selection of materials and design process, systems become much more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective.
The Significance of Valves on System Reliability, Cost, and Efficiency
One of the generic assumptions about valves is that they are considered the weakest link in most industrial systems. But then, this is not often the case. A lot of valves can easily hold up to every performance standard set by the industry. This depends significantly on the selected valve material, pipe and fitting material, as well as the joining method.
Identifying the flimsiest component within any industrial system is excellent engineering practice. This is crucial, especially when the total system pressure rating needs to be determined. The majority of the valves employed in several non-metallic industrial systems have to be considered – at all times – particularly for pressure capabilities. This is because these valves vary as different manufacturer fabricates them.
Let’s check out the several ways valves efficiently impact industrial piping systems:
- Pressure Loss
It is highly essential for systems to readily optimize fluid dynamics in order to avoid every unnecessary cost incurred via the consumption of energy. And one of the ideal ways to do this is by minimizing head loss or pressure drop.
Valves are one of the primary causes of pressure drop within piping systems. Every valve has an acknowledged flow coefficient that is used for calculating the pressure drop it causes when it is fully in the open position.
The flow coefficient is the particular volume that flows through the valve, having a pressure drop of 1 psi across the valve. And the larger the flow coefficient of the valve, the less pressure drop it causes.
Therefore, to limit energy consumption as well as optimize efficiency, plants must only use valves with high flow coefficients. And this is why valve manufacturers always provide the valve flow coefficients for every product.
It is becoming widely known that pressure loss in thermoplastic valves is lower than in metallic valves when viewed on a macro level. And this is due to the proneness of metal to corrosion, rust, scaling, etc. that significantly reduce valve, pipe, and fitting interior smoothness.
- Stress and System Weight
Every component incorporated or attached to an industrial system – including valves, etc. – generally increases the stress on the pipe. And as the system stress increases, it also increases the probability of leaks, joint failure, breaks, and misalignment.
This is why you should keep the following considerations in mind when using valves:
- Heavy valves may require support
- Every valve significantly puts more stress on the entire piping system
- Thermoplastic valves are not as heavy as metal valves.
- Susceptibleness to Corrosion
Corrosion is the culprit that causes severe system issues and is known to cause premature repairs. This, in turn, leads to costly downtimes and – in many cases – complete replacement of components. The setbacks that corrosion causes in industrial systems lead to the incurring of considerable costs. For this reason, engineers must work towards enhancing the life of any industrial system that works with caustic solutions.
The joints are usually the points affected by corrosion. The number of system components involved in the operations determines how often corrosion will plague the entire system.
At times, corrosion on the system may not be severe enough to cause damage that will lead to downtimes. However, the valves are nearly always affected. This is because valves are highly prone to degradation and corrosion, especially at the valve seats.
Corrosion creates scale and debris that hinder the smooth movement of valves. This makes them far less efficient, and when the entire system fails, it could lead to considerable safety concerns.
- Pressure Rating
An industrial system is as strong as its weakest link, and for this reason, understanding valve pressure ratings is crucial. The region with the lowest pressure rating – within a system – is its limiting factor.
Many professionals and engineers assume that the valve is ultimately the system’s pressure restraint. It doesn’t have to be; in fact, some of the factors for valve pressure ratings include:
- Joining method or connection type
- Material type, etc.
It is highly recommended that professionals follow the recommendations of the manufacturer for pressure ratings, etc.
A look at the intricacies of pipe valves as outlined in this post shows why they deserve great appreciation. This makes them as essential as the choice of materials, general industrial piping system design, etc. Valves should never be treated as a second thought but as a vital component that will play crucial roles and contribute significantly to the overall success of the industrial piping system.
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