A ball valve is a valve with a rotating ball in the middle of the body.They are made with various kinds of materials including stainless steel ball valves. The ball valves have a port or bore passing through them which helps in the regulation of the fluids flowing through a pipe or hose – which can be a gas or liquid. When the bore aligns with the flow of the substance, we say the ball valve is open. On the contrary, when the bore is perpendicular to the flow we say it is closed.
Normally, the available designs only turn at 90 degree but modern developments are including 360 degree turning ball valves. Technically, 90 degree is sufficient enough to open and close the flow of fluids in a pipe. However, there are applications that would rather use the 360-degree turn.
The fact that ball valves are air-tight when in a closed position makes them a favorable choice for most industries. This ability makes it reliable in applications that need speedy shut-offs that are secure. However, they are not good for applications that are prone to wear because they can easily be compromised in throttling situations.
There are three main categories of ball valves:
Trunnion Mounted: These come with an anchor system which makes them useful in high pressure applications.. This is so because the trunnion stem helps in absorbing of extra pressure that can cause wear
Floating: This valve doesn’t have additional components like the trunnion mounted. They float in the fluid when open and seal when the level drops.
Rising: They apply tilt-and-turn procedure to reduce the chances of the seal rubbing which is the main cause of premature valve failure.
Why Use a Ball Valve?
Ball valves are very popular for many reasons. The first is its compact design that is not costly to maintain. They do not need lubrication of any kind and efficiently and tightly seal to the flow of fluids or gas through pipes and hoses. In addition, they are inexpensive in comparison with any other kinds of valves.
The main disadvantage of ball valves is the inability to handle high thrust or pressure in certain applications. They erode quickly in such conditions. In some way, the trunnion mounted ball valve has taken care of the situation but there should be careful consideration for applications that have high throttling needs.
Another benefit of ball valves is that they are versatile, meaning that they are used in a wide range of applications.Besides the natural gas and oil industry,they are also used in many diverse industries including: residential , manufacturing, mining, construction, chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical.
As mentioned previously, ball valves are manufactured in various materials. Many prefer stainless steel ball valves as they are very durable and chemical resistant.. When purchasing you need to know what material will suit your application.