3-Way Ball Valves
3-way ball valves have three ports through which flow passes. They are manufactured in a T- or L-shape, allowing fluid to flow through or be directed to one or two outlets. 3-way ball valves are used industrially, residentially, and commercially.
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Applications of 3-Way Ball Valves
3-way ball valves are particularly useful for liquids or gases moving in many directions, such as a faucet that distributes both cold and hot water. They can be used for isolation of systems, regulation of low flow (e.g., throttling the flow of air at differential pressures up to one thousand psi), and backflow (e.g., water supply systems) prevention but only with a swing check component. 3-way ball valves can handle high pressures and large volumes of liquids, gases, and suspended solids.
3-Way Ball Valve Design and Customization
3-way valves are typically manufactured in a T- or L-shape so that fluid can flow through passageways inside the rotor (the rotating part of the valve). The most common use for 3-way ball valves is that flow coming in one port can be directed to either the second or third port. One use for the T-valve is to allow a connection of one inlet to either or both outlets. The L-valve is used to disconnect both inlets from one outlet or it can connect one of two inlets to one outlet. Other kinds of 3-port valves can be designed for other possible flow-directing schemes and positions.
3-way ball valves can be manufactured with stainless steel or brass. Ball sizes less than two inches are generally one, two, or three piece designs. These valves range from inexpensive and throw-away to expensive and repairable. Three piece design valves contain a ball, stem, and seats that can be removed from the pipeline for easy cleaning of deposited sediments and polishing without removing the pipes from the valve body.