Check Valves and Their Benefits
Check valves are valves which have two openings in the body to control gas or fluid flow. One hole allows fluid to enter while the other allows it to leave. Check valves are also self-activating valves that react to the pressure created by the flow rate generated by the mechanisms they are operating. Though small and simple, check valves are often part of regular household items. The designing process of a particular stainless-steel spring valve depends on the cracking pressure at which the check valves will work. However, check valve manufacturers design valves in different sizes and prices. Materials used in making them include plastics, stainless steel metals or polypropylenes. While the general design and function of the check valve is relatively simple, there are a number of important considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that materials flow through the valve and that backflow is adequately prevented.
Check valves come in a range of sizes. The most important consideration regarding the size is the diameter of the seat and stopping device, which may be less than an inch or several feet across. Properly sized check valves are easily installed in pre-existing flow lines, using the dimensions of the pipe or tubing to determine the necessary size. The valve size will also affect the pressure rating or cracking pressure of the valve. This is the minimum pressure at which the valve will operate, or open. If the valve is too large or bulky, the pressure created by the process stream will not be able to open it, even when the opposing pressure is exceeded. Undersized apparatus will allow a continuous flow and never close. Such malfunctions could result in damaged equipment, wasted materials and potentially hazardous cross-contamination. The materials of construction also impact the effectiveness of check valves. If incompatible materials are used, they will wear, erode or contaminate the process stream. As a number of plastics, metals and synthetics may be used, compatibility is always attainable no matter the gas or fluid being transferred. Common materials include PVC and brass as well as ductile iron, copper, polyethylene, polypropylene, aluminum, steel, stainless steel and rubber. Further factors to consider include media temperature and the valve flow coefficient.
When harvesting rain water at home, piping systems that are connected to the main water supply will use check valves to help in preventing continuous liquid flow. The valves also stop the rainwater from contaminating the main water supply and act as backup system in case a sump pump fails to work.
When it comes to farming, drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation, emitters use small check valves that are incorporated into the piping system to prevent the lines from draining when the system is off. Check valves also avert vertical convection in domestic heating systems, particularly when placed in solar thermal installations.
Check valves have many applications in the industrial sector such as in chemical and power plants. In the nuclear industry, check valves have uses in systems that supply water for cooling reactors in a controlled speed, pressure, and volume. These valves are also useful in the aerospace and aircraft industries where there is a lot of extreme vibration temperatures and corrosive fluids.
Check valves functionality is applicable in aircraft hydraulic systems, propulsion propellant control, attitude control systems and reaction control systems for the spacecraft and launch vehicle. Furthermore, these valves can be found in industries where multiple gases combine to produce one stream of gas. The valves can also work to prevent the gases from mixing in the source.
Check valves are also useful in piston-driven pumps and diaphragms pumps. Inlet and outlet ball check valves are common in metering and chromatography pumps. Ball check valves generate a lot of applications in a pump-like mechanism used in the moving of large volumes of fluid to prevent reverse flow. The injectors of a steam boiler also have control valve fittings to prevent backflow.
Check Valves – Check-All Valve Manufacturing Company
Check Valve – Check-All Valve Manufacturing Company
Check Valve – Check-All Valve Manufacturing Company
Check Valve – Check-All Valve Manufacturing Company
History and Evolution
In 1907 Frank P. Cotter came up with a simple self-sealing check valve, it was easy to fit in the existing piping system connection without the need of specialized tools. The repair and inspection of the check valve were also easy to do. In 1916, Nikola Tesla developed a very simple one-way valve for fluids calling it a Tesla valve which he patented in 1920. Innovation in check valves led to the formation of newer plastic diaphragm valves that are useful in the medical sector.
In today’s world, check valves have a wide range of applications in virtually every industry like aerospace, motor vehicle, agriculture, water treatment sectors and even in the manufacturing industry. The materials used in the construction of the check valves also vary depending on the industry.
Design and Engineering of Check Valves
Check valves find many uses in the commercial, industrial and domestic use. Their responsibility lies in the safe and consistent flow of substance including acids, bases, water, slurry, oxygen, fuel and even hazardous material. It is essential while manufacturing to use material that is compatible with the fluid or material flow that the check valve will be handling.
PVC check valves, also known as relief valves, are commonly used along with brass check valves since both are made using durable materials to help them withstand constant wear and chemical corrosion. Eliminating unnecessary wear is possible by choosing proper check valves configuration which will improve the product durability. The versatility of the silicone diaphragm has made it possible to manufacture check valves which are useful in the medical field.
Features of the Product
Ball check valves, swing check valves, wafer check valves and lift check valves allow continuous downstream flow of fluids while preventing upstream contamination. On the other hand, spring check valves avoid valve clapping and overflow caused by the heightened downstream flow as a result of high differential pressure across the valve. Reducing wear and increasing protection against backflow that can otherwise lead to cross-contamination, flooding, and even pressures surges, has increased the usefulness of double check valves.
Double check valves use several valves in combination with one another, and they come in an iron body, plastic or stainless steel. Diaphragm check valves are applicable in hospitals where they prevent free-flowing liquids from slipping into unwanted sections of the human body.
Types of Check Valves
Ball Check Valve- Ball check valves are valves that use a loose spherical ball to block the flow of fluids. In some ball valves, the ball is spring-loaded with a stainless steel spring to keep it shut. For those ball check valves that are not spring loaded, they use the reverse flow to move the ball back to its seat to create a sealing mechanism. A three-way ball valve has either a ball valve element, gate valve element or globe valve element typically at the center of the apparatus.
- Brass- Brass check valves are pipe fittings made of alloyed copper and zinc that are designed to regulate the flow of a process stream and protect against back pressure or backflow.
- Butterfly Valves- Which can either be iron body or stainless steel, work to regulate pressure flow in large pipes in which the disc takes the form of the tube. The disc is always present within the stream. Therefore, any psi changes are induced regardless of valve position.
- Carbon Steel Check Valves- Carbon steel check valves tend to have stainless steel internal components and butterfly valves making them suitable for utility applications and industrial processes such as chemical, steam, petrochemical, water, and gas.
- Clapper Valves- are a type of check valve used in firefighting. This valve has a hinged gate (often with a spring pulling it shut) that will only remain open in the outflowing direction.
- Diaphragm Check Valve- A diaphragm check valve creates a normally-closed valve through the precise positioning of a flexible rubber diaphragm in a piping system. For the valve to open and allow fluid flow, the pressure differential between the upstream must be higher than the pressure on the downstream. The moment positive pressure stops, the diaphragm will automatically flex back to the original closing position. With the innovation in the silicone, diaphragms check valves engineering can add function in the medical sector. This device is useful in low upstream pressure as it allows for small cracking pressure.
- Double- Double check valves consist of at least two independently acting check-valves. They are typically used in liquid services.
- Duckbill Valve- A Duckbill valve is made using either synthetic elastomer or rubber that prevents corrosion. This valve has a shape like the mouth of a duck which prevents backflow.
- Foot- Foot valves are often used in conjunction with a pump. The valve aids in pumping water and helps prevent backflow.
- Hydraulic- Hydraulic check valves prevent backflow in hydraulic systems, typically using a ball or a poppet.
- Lift Check Valve- A lift-check valve is a type of disc check valve in which the lift can be raised from its seat by higher psi of inlet fluid allowing fluid flow to the downstream side. When the psi is no longer higher, gravity or high pressure from downstream will cause the disk to get to its seat. Hence, it acts as a safety relief valve. These systems don’t use stainless steel rings to serve as a control valve.
- Miniature- Miniature check valves are designed for precision fluid or gas flow regulation in small applications where unidirectional flow is needed. These micro valves operate with the same components as larger check valves, but with each element scaled down considerably.
- Non- return- Non- return check valves are another name for check valves, or valves that regulate the directionality of gas or liquid process streams. Also known as one-way directional valves, these devices are employed in virtually every industrial, commercial and even domestic application that involves the unidirectional flow of materials.
- Pilot-operated Check Valves- Pilot-operated check valves are non-modular valves arranged in flanged mounting that allow the locking and feeding of hydraulic cylinders. This type of valve has an excellent sealing capability.
- Plastic- Plastic check valves are unidirectional flow control devices made out of organic, synthetic or processed polymers.
- Pneumatic- Pneumatic check valves allow fluids to flow in one or two ways. When the fluid is allowed to flow more than one way it is often metered.
- PVC Check Valves- Are unidirectional flow regulators made of a particularly versatile thermoplastic resin and easily suited to the specific needs of industrial, commercial and even domestic check valve applications. An acronym for polyvinyl chloride, PVC is a highly diverse polymer that can be formulated to suit a number of check valve applications.
- Relief- Relief valves relieve excess and potentially dangerous pressure from piping systems or closed-top vessels and are normally closed until the set pressure is reached.
- Sanitary- Sanitary check valves are used when the fluids contained in the pipes need to remain germ free. These check valves are often used for medical, food, or dairy purposes.
- Silent Check Valves- A silent check valve is designed to avoid water hammer or shock in process system by closing before fluid flow reversal. Designed for silent operations, the silent check valves will close quickly and smoothly to minimize hammer noise.
- Spring- Spring check valves implement coiled metal components in order to increase the amount of pressure needed to open the valve as well as help maintain closure even in the presence of strong reverse flow surges.
- Stainless Steel Valves- Stainless steel valves are non-corrosive hence have a variety of uses in any stainless steel spring equipment that deals with water, oil, and gasoline pressure.
- Stop- Stop check valves are a type of check valve with override control to stop flow regardless of flow direction or pressure. When the valve is open, it acts as a check valve, but the valve can be deliberately shut to stop flow.
- Swing Check Valve- Swing check valves usually consist of a flat disc pivoting or swinging about a hinge pin. They swing on the seat to prevent reverse flow or swing away from the seat to allow forward flow. They don’t need stainless steel spring to perform this function since they don’t have a non-return valve.
- Traditional Swing Check Valves- Most of the time slams in the vertical pipe installations as a result of the long stroke and inertia of the disc. Because of this reason, some swing check valves are outfitted with a lever and a weight accessory. Although check valves come in different sizes, most of the large valves tend to be the swing check valves. They can handle a mixture of liquids and solids, which makes them suitable for use in wastewater management areas such as toilets.
- Wafer Check Valves- Wafer check valves are one-way valves that prevent back flow by allowing fluids to flow in only one direction. The psi of forwarding fluid flow opens the disc check valve, and the pressure from back flow closes it. This swing check valve come with a stainless steel body or an iron body.
Benefits of Check Valves
- Check valves moderate the pressure flow rate of fluids in the piping systems in different industry sectors. They prevent cross-contamination of fluids like water and oil.
- Stainless steel valves are non-corrosive and durable ensuring that any stainless steel spring has uninterrupted flow of oil, gas, and water.
- When storm sages and floods are directed in the correct drainage they stop contamination of fresh water.
- The high pressure from piping systems in fire engines helps in putting out of fires.
- The controlling of psi is useful in designing pressure controlled devices such as scuba tanks.
- The diaphragm assists in preventing contamination of fluids in the health sector.
Some of the accessories that come with a variety of check valves include ductile iron body and center-guided silent check valves with straighter vanes to eliminate water hammer. Additionally, aluminum-bronze and stainless steel discs come with the check valves. Some check valve manufacturers make globe style body valves which ensures minimal pressure loss.
Check valve manufactures create arrow designs typically found in the tag or valve body to show the direction of the flow and will allow the valve to perform its duty. When Installation and servicing are needed, a professional and licensed contractor is suitable to complete the task. The expert will ensure proper installation and avoid future misfortune from a wrongly installed check valve.
Proper use of a check valve is determined by the type of flow, pressure, temperature, volume and psi expected. Use certified check valves to avoid premature equipment failure and other contaminants. When doing maintenance inspect check valve operations through a transparent cover. Thoroughly grease O-ring with silicone lubricant and reassemble the valve when finished.
Compliance and Standards
The Drinking Water Act passed in January, 2014 in an effort of reducing the amount of lead in drinking water, set the rule that any object that comes in contact with drinking water should have a maximum lead content of 0.25%. To avoid any contamination, it is ideal to switch to new piping systems like those that use stainless steel or plastic components.
Plastic is long lasting, easy to install and light in weight compared to stainless steel components or iron body components. It is the ideal material for households.
How to Choose Correct Check Valve
Check valves influence is felt all over the society, be it in the industrial commercial or domestic use. Choosing the correct check valve will depend on the purpose intended. However, consider the flow of fluid expected, the temperature and the psi of the fluid flow when making that decision.
Check Valves Terms
– A part of a regulating
check valve that
converts various forms of energy (electrical, fluid, etc.) into mechanical
motion to open or shut the check valve seats.
– A system’s reversal of normal flow resulting from
an increase in the downstream pressure exceeding that of the supply pressure.
–The pressure that is the result of a restriction
of the main flow, caused by gravity, pumps, or restrictions on the pipe;
measured in inches H20 or PSI.
– A material often
used by top check valve manufacturers, in the production of custom check
valves which can be stretched or distorted but will
return to its original shape.
– Device used when the material running through
a pipe or a valve is at high or low temperatures. This device helps prevent
damage to the sealing materials within check valves.
–Power that is used to provide motion and force to
mechanisms by applying, generating, and controlling pumped or compressed
liquids or gases; this term also encompasses hydraulics and pneumatics.
– A gate valve often found in waste water treatment
plants. It is used to contain fluids within check valves and custom
– A small valve which operates a larger
check valve with
very little power necessary for use; utilized when the system requires
the no-return characteristics of check valves for only a portion of the cycle.
– Operated or pressurized by air or other gases.
– A device that utilizes pneumatic energy to
regulate or open/close the check valve. A spring that is used solely to
open many custom check valves, will normally be fitted inside a valve which allows the valve
to return to the closed position.
– A valve that moves up to or from its seat perpendicularly
within check valves.
– Makes certain the closing device of
check valves stays
in the correct position.
– Pressure difference in
check valves found between
the inlet and the outlet.
– A quick pressure rise
common to many custom check valves.
– A unit of pressure; equivalent to
the metric unit of Kilonewtons per square centimeter.
– Check valves that are able to be inserted into the bottom
– A stationary part of
custom check valves which restrict fluid
or gas flow when it comes in contact with the movable portion of many
Check Valve Informational Video