How Does A Ball Valve Function?

Published June 27, 2019

ball valve function

What, exactly, is ball valve function, and why does that matter when you are selecting valves for your business? We’re here to answer that question and let you know more about how the valves you choose for your industrial applications can make a big impact on your efficiency, profitability, and overall success. If you’re interested, check out our article on the difference between a ball valve and a gate valve.

Ball Valve Function Basics

A ball valve functions as a quarter-turn valve, which controls flow through a hollow, perforated, and pivoting sphere, hence the name. It is in the same valve family as butterfly valves and plug valves, which are also quarter-turn valves. The sphere has a port, or a bore, in its center, which is critical to its function.

When the bore in the ball valve function is lined up with the associated pipeline, the valve is open, so fluid can move through the bore. Turned 90 degrees, it is situated perpendicular to the flow of the fluid, so the valve is closed and the fluid can’t come through. That being said, ball valve function is not well suited to applications in which you need to throttle the flow of a fluid.

The way a ball valve functions makes it easy to see if the valve is open or shut. The handle that operators use to adjust where the sphere is aligned with the flow when the valve is open, and it is perpendicular when the valve is closed.

Disadvantages of Ball Valve Function

As previously mentioned, ball valves are not ideal for throttling applications, as they do not allow for very fine control of flow. If you need to slow the flow of a fluid, a ball valve’s function is not a good choice — it should be used for opening or closing alone. They are also known to trap fluid in the bore when in the closed position, which can crack the valve if the liquid freezes.

One of the biggest problems with ball valve function is that it is not multipurpose. Thicker liquids like slurries also pose problems for ball valves, sticking the valve in place so it cannot open or close, and generally causing wear and tear on the valve that will rapidly reduce its lifespan. Even using a ball valve in a high-velocity flow situation can cause problems, as ball valve function is not designed to withstand this level of pressure and can cause a lot of erosion, fast.

Like most standard valves, a ball valve loses its function over time, wearing out through use. It is not a valve that will last forever by any means, so while it can be an affordable piece of equipment, it is likely something you will have to replace frequently.

If you already rely on ball valves and are questioning if their function is truly suiting your needs, or if you are considering installing ball valves as part of your industrial processes, there are alternatives that may work better for you. It all comes back to that efficiency, profitability, and success piece — ball valve function might not be what you need to accomplish that.

So, what can you do instead?

Rotating Valves for Severe Service Needs

Everlasting Valve Company offers severe service valves that actually wear in through use, instead of wearing out. The unique construction of our products ensures that your valves last the test of time, and then some. Instead of having to worry about how weather, flow, and challenging environments will lead to the breakdown and replacement of your ball valves, you can select an Everlasting Valves product that works in the same applications of a ball valve, knowing that it will do even better.

Our valves are stronger and tougher than your average ball valve, gate valve, globe valve, or pinch valve — and practically any other kind of valve used around the world — and many have been in service for decades without needing repair or replacement. You will no longer have to worry about freezing temperatures, high flow erosion, or any of the other common problems a standard ball valve poses.

If your ball valve function is not standing up to the needs of your business and the challenges of your environment, it’s time to be proactive and invest in a valve that works.

We are pleased to work with our clients to find the right Everlasting Valve to replace their existing valves, or to determine which of our products is best suited for a new application. We can even design and fabricate custom rotating valves, with our extensive experience and the talent of our design team.

For a quote on process valves, bulk material valves, or diverting/converging rotating valves, fill out our form here, and for boiler blowdown valve quotes, call our office at (908) 769-0700 or email [email protected] for pricing and availability.

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