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Ball Valve - How They Work

ball valve is a shut off valve that controls the flow of a liquid or gas by means of a rotary ball having a bore. By rotating the ball a quarter turn (90 degrees) around its axis, the medium can flow through or is blocked. They are characterized by a long service life and provide a reliable sealing over the life span, even when the valve is not in use for a long time. As a result, they are more popular as a shut off valve then for example the gate valve. For a complete comparison, read our gate valve vs ball valve article. Moreover, they are more resistant against contaminated media than most other types of valves. In special versions, ball valves are also used as a control valve. This application is less common due to the relatively limited accuracy of controlling the flow rate in comparison with other types of control valves. However, the valve also offers some advantages here. For example, it still ensures a reliable sealing, even in the case of dirty media. Figure 1 shows a sectional view of a ball valve.

Ball valve working principle

To understand the working principle of a ball valve, it is important to know the 5 main ball valve parts and 2 different operation types. The 5 main components can be seen in the ball valve diagram in Figure 2. The valve stem (1) is connected to the ball (4) and is either manually operated or automatically operated (electrically or pneumatically). The ball is supported and sealed by the ball valve seat (5) and their are o-rings (2) around the valve stem. All are inside the valve housing (3). The ball has a bore through it, as seen in the sectional view in Figure 1. When the valve stem is turned a quarter-turn the bore is either open to the flow allowing media to flow through or closed to prevent media flow. The valve's circuit function, housing assembly, ball design, and operation types all impact the ball valve's operation are are discussed below.Circuit function

The valve may have two, three or even four ports (2-way, 3-way or 4-way). The vast majority of ball valves are 2-way and manually operated with a lever. The lever is in line with pipe when the valve is opened. In closed position, the handle is perpendicular to the pipe. The ball valve flow direction is simply from the input to the output for a 2-way valve. Manually operated ball valves can be quickly closed and therefore there is a risk of water hammer with fast-flowing media. Some ball valves are fitted with a transmission. The 3-way valves have an L-shaped or T-shaped bore, which affect the circuit function (flow direction). This can be seen in Figure 3. As a result, various circuit functions can be achieved such as distributing or mixing flows.

Inspecting Pipes in Exterior Walls and Pipe Insulation

Locating water pipes in exterior walls should be avoided. If pipes are located in exterior walls, in addition to insulating the pipe, the homeowner should ensure that as much cavity insulation as possible is installed between the pipe and the outer surface of the wall. In cold climates, having pipes in unconditioned attics should be avoided. The image above is of uninsulated water supply pipes in an unconditioned basement.

Insulating water pipes can save energy by minimizing heat loss through the piping. Insulating pipes will reduce the risk of condensation forming on the pipes, which can lead to mold and moisture damage. Insulation pipe can protect the pipes from freezing and cracking in the winter, which can cause considerable damage in the walls of the home and result in significant home repair bills for the homeowner. Studies by the Department of Energy (DOE’s) Building America program have shown that distribution heat loss in uninsulated hot water pipes can range from 16% to 23%, depending on the climate. Adding 3/4-inch pipe insulation can cut overall water heating energy use by 4% to 5% annually.

Optimization and intelligent manufacturing are of particular interest and important to improve the severe situation of excessive mass and uneven stress distribution for three branch joint in treelike structures. In this work, the optimal shape of the three-branch joints under vertical load is studied by topology optimization method, and the complex topology optimization Y joint is manufactured using threedimensional (3D) printing technology because it is difficult to produce by conventional manufacturing processes. First, the original model is optimized by using the OptiStruct solver in HyperWorks version 14.0 (64-bit) software, and the element density cloud map and element isosurface map of the model are obtained. 

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