How Ball Valves Works

ball valve

What are valves?

A valve is a mechanical device which blocks a pipe either completely or partially so as to change the quantity of fluid which passes through it. Whenever you turn on a faucet so as to brush your teeth, you are opening a valve which allows pressurized water to escape from the pipe. In addition to that, whenever the toilet is flushed, two valves are opened, one of which will allow the escape of water so that the pan can be emptied while the other which is called the ball valve would admit more water to enter the tank and prepare for the subsequent flush.

A ball valve is a device which has a spherical closure unit which provides on/off control of flow of substance. The sphere has a port which is otherwise known as a bore through the center. Whenever the valve is positioned in such a way that the bore is aligned in the same direction with the pipeline, it is in open position and the fluid can then flow through it. When it is rotated through 90 degrees, the bore would become perpendicular to the path of flow, which implies that the valve is in close position and the fluid would not be able to pass through it.
The ball valve as well as butterfly and plug valves are part of the quarter-turn valve family. Ball valve is known for their bubble-tight as well as reliable sealing. However, they are a perfect choice for gas applications where it is crucial to have a tight shutoff. As a result of wearing which may occur constantly on the seat, it is not ideal to use ball valves in throttling applications. Ball valve is usually made of steel on the outer part and can also be made to be more durable with the presence of nickel plating.
The ball valve which is mostly common is considered to be two ways and this allows the flow to travel linearly from the inlet to the exit. In addition to that, the three-way as well as four-way ball valves likewise allow for the flow to travel in multiple directions and this also includes a 90-degree angles.
There are four different body styles of ball valves; they include fully welded, three-piece body or end-entry, top-entry and split-body. What differentiate them is the process of manufacturing and assemblage, but the operation of the valve does not change. Each and every design of the valve has its own benefits. For instance, the designs of some are fully welded which gives it a good strength with minimal weight as well as high resistance and this is applicable to pipeline pressures and stresses. The spherical design as well as compact shape likewise helps to eliminate body flanges thereby reducing the overall size as well as leak paths.

Different Kinds of Ball Valves

Trunnion Mounted Ball Valve In this case, there is an added mechanical anchoring which is placed on top as well as bottom of the ball. This special kind of mounting is perfect for larger and higher pressure valves. However, this design helps in the reduction in valve torque because the ball is supported in two different places. The trunnion mounted stem helps in the absorption of the thrust from the pressure line, this will then help in the prevention of excess friction in between the seat and ball, this is the main reason why the torque remain low when working at full capacity.

Floating Ball Valve A floating ball is not held in place by a trunnion, but it is attached only to the stem. The ball can slightly float downstream as a result of this. But, when this occurs, the ball presses against the seat and would then create a positive seal.

Rising Stem Ball Valve– Tilt and turn operation is being incorporated in this ball valve, with this; seal rubbing which is the major cause of valve failure will be eliminated. Whenever the valve is closed, the core is wedged against the seat and this ensures a positive shutoff. Whenever you open the valve, the core will move away from the seal and the fluid flow uniformly across the core. This operating principle is used by the rising stem ball so as to have a reliable performance. In addition to that, the valve will have ability to do away with high velocity flow which creates a non-uniform seat wear which is showed by ordinary ball, plug and gate valves.
Also, ball valves are of three different types: they include reduced port or standard port, v-port and full port. These three types of ball valves have different construction as well as purposes.

Full-Port Ball Valve – A full-port otherwise known as full-bore, ball valves has full-bore valve has a bore internal diameter (ID) which has an approximate size to that of the pipeline internal diameter. This would allow for the reduction of friction as well as pressure loss across the valve. With the aid of a full-port ball valve, the flow of fluid is not limited by the valve but the valve can cost more money. This kind of bore is perfect for situations where pigging is essential. This kind of valve is designed to have a full-port and split-body, the sealing technology of the flanged ball valves is combined with the design so as to solve the most challenging applications. This type of technology is widely used in the petrochemical, chemical as well as refining industries.

Reduced-Port Ball Valve – This can also be referred to as a reduced-bore, a ball valve is a kind of valve whereby there is a reduction in the bore to one or two. This would provide a flow path which is more restricted and then lead to higher loss of energy. This kind of ball valve provides both the full-port as well as reduced port valves. It is likewise known for its sound design, high sealing areas and overlays made of stainless steel; the ball valve is widely known to provide solutions for various industries as well as most severe applications.

V-Port Ball Valve – This kind of valve has either a ‘v’ shaped ball or seat. It can also be referred to as a control valve whereby you need to control the velocities of flow depending on the application.

How are valves made?

Metal or plastic material can be used to make valves and they also have several parts. The name given to the outer part is seat and it usually has an outer casing made of solid metal and plastic seal so that the valves will make a closure which is very tight. The inner part of the valve i.e. body opens and also closes, and likewise fits into the seat perfectly whenever you close the valve. There is also some kind of mechanism for the opening as well as closing of the valves, this can either be a manual lever or wheel or an automated mechanism just likes steam engine or car engine.
It is also essential for valves which are switched off to prevent the flow or escape of gas or liquid through a pipe so as to avoid accidents, pollution, explosions or the loss of valuable chemicals. This is the main reason why the seal of the valve need to be secured perfectly and a valve which is turned off must be closed tightly. The turning off of a high-pressure flow of gas or liquid by blocking it with a valve is very difficult; however you need to exert a lot of force to achieve it. That is the main reason why large wheel or long levers are used to operate some valves. If too much force is required for big valves before they are supplied by human, they are operated by hydraulic rams.

How ball valves work

Ball valves works perfectly in many applications, however they are mainly utilized in the field of water supply and treatment of water or waste in most industries. Plastic ball valves are mainly used in the chemical industry. An example of how a ball valve works is shown by the animation. It will illustrate the way by which the medium flows through the body as well as how it can be shut off, it also demonstrate why the standard type of this valve should not be used for sterile and hygienic applications. This is due to the fact that, when in the partial open state and when opening or closing medium can infiltrate between the ball and the body, which implies it is not free of “dead spaces”.

Why Choose a Ball Valve?

Ball valves have a great popularity and this is due to their compact as well as low maintenance design and does not need any lubrication while still offering the user a tight seal with a minimal torque. The ball valves are not expensive and are a good choice when it comes to choosing among all the types of valve arrangement. However, the design has poor throttling characteristics which make the seat of a ball to erode easily. This has been changed with the trunnion mounted design of ball valves, but there is a need to consider those looking at ball valves for situations where high throttling is a necessity.
Ball valves are also used in most cases and this is as a result of their ability to be used across a range of market as well as applications. As earlier mentioned, ball valves are very essential in the oil and gas industry but also fit perfectly in the chemical storage, manufacturing sectors and for residential uses.


There are several uses as well as application of ball valves in various sectors such as oil and gas, transmission and storage, industrial and so on. One of the product managers of ball valve provide a detailed explanation that the ball valve provide a reliable leak protection which provide several benefits in gas applications. It is also known that ball valves have a low pressure drop and can be opened or closed quickly.
Different construction materials which are used, design as well as trim options are what make these valves extremely important. The subsea ball valves are a common type which is used in subsea applications on manifold is require for a long time at high pressure. Ball valves such as TBV line are also utilized in cryogenic applications where it is essential to keep compressed gas at a stable temperature so that it can be moved efficiently.
The valves also help to regulate the gases as well as liquids and if you have a gas cooktop on your stove, the controls which turn the gas up or down are valves. Whenever you turn up the heat, you are opening a valve which allows more gas to flow in via the pipe. When more gas burns with a bigger flame, you will be able to get more heat.
It is very certain that any machine which makes use of gases or liquid will have valves in them. Valves are also present in your clothes washer which turns the supply of water on or off whenever the drum rinses out. In addition to that, the cylinders of the car engine also have valves in them, the closing and opening on several occasions is what allow burned exhaust gases to escape.
The use of valves is not limited to machines; your body likewise has some essential valves inside your heart which allows it to pump blood to your lungs as well as around your body.

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