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A valve is a device or natural object that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid (gases, liquids, fluidized solids, or slurries) by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category. In an open valve, fluid flows in a direction from higher pressure to lower pressure. The word is derived from the Latin valva, the moving part of a door, in turn from volvere, to turn, roll.
The simplest, and very ancient, valve is simply a freely hinged flap which swings down to obstruct fluid (gas or liquid) flow in one direction, but is pushed up by the flow itself when the flow is moving in the opposite direction. This is called a check valve, as it prevents or "checks" the flow in one direction. Modern control valves may regulate pressure or flow downstream and operate on sophisticated automation systems.
Valves have many uses, including controlling water for irrigation, industrial uses for controlling processes, residential uses such as on/off and pressure control to dish and clothes washers and taps in the home. Even aerosol spray cans have a tiny valve built in. Valves are also used in the military and transport sectors. In HVAC ductwork and other near-atmospheric air flows, valves are instead called dampers. In compressed air systems, however, valves are used with the most common type being ball valves.
There are many valve designs, types and models, with a wide range of industrial applications, such as Solenoid Valve, Pneumatic Pulse Valve, Explosion Proof Solenoid Valve, Namur Solenoid, Solenoid Valve Parts, Pneumatic Valve, Fluid Solenoid Valve, etc. All satisfy one or more of the functions identified above. Valves are expensive items, and it is important that a correct valve is specified for the function, and must be constructed of the correct material for the process liquid. Regardless of type, all valves have the following basic parts.. the body, bonnet, trim (internal elements), actuator, and packing. The basic parts of a valve are illustrated in the image on the right.
The valve body, sometimes called the shell, is the primary boundary of a pressure valve. He serves as the main element of a valve assembly because it is the framework that holds all the parts together. The body, the first pressure boundary of a valve, resists fluid pressure loads from connecting piping. It receives inlet and outlet piping through threaded, bolted, or welded joints. The valve-body ends are designed to connect the valve to the piping or equipment nozzle by different types of end connections, such as butt or socket welded, threaded or flanged. Valve bodies are cast or forged in a variety of forms and each component have a specific function and constructed in a material suitable for that function.
The cover for the opening in the body is the bonnet, and it is the second most important boundary of a pressure valve. Like valve bodies, bonnets are in many designs and models available. A bonnet acts as a cover on the valve body, is cast or forged of the same material as the body. It is commonly connected to the body by a threaded, bolted, or welded joint. During manufacture of the valve, the internal components, such as stem, disk etc., are put into the body and then the bonnet is attached to hold all parts together inside.
In all cases, the attachment of the bonnet to the body is considered a pressure boundary. This means that the weld joint or bolts that connect the bonnet to the body are pressure-retaining parts. Valve bonnets, although a necessity for most valves, represent a cause for concern. Bonnets can complicate the manufacture of valves, increase valve size, represent a significant cost portion of valve cost, and are a source for potential leakage.
The removable and replaceable valve internal parts that come in contact with the flow medium are collectively termed as Valve trim. These parts include valve seat(s), disc, glands, spacers, guides, bushings, and internal springs. The valve body, bonnet, packing, et cetera that also come in contact with the flow medium are not considered valve trim. A Valve's trim performance is determined by the disk and seat interface and the relation of the disk position to the seat. Because of the trim, basic motions and flow control are possible. In rotational motion trim designs, the disk slides closely past the seat to produce a change in flow opening. In linear motion trim designs, the disk lifts perpendicularly away from the seat so that an annular orifice appears.
Valve trim parts may be constructed of assorted materials because of the different properties needed to withstand different forces and conditions. Bushings and packing glands do not experience the same forces and conditions as do the valve disc and seat(s). Flow-medium properties, chemical composition, pressure, temperature, flow rate, velocity and viscosity are some of the important considerations in selecting suitable trim materials. Trim materials may or may not be the same material as the valve body or bonnet.