In a chemical storage system application, the valve type required can differ based on the demands of the chemical being stored. When selecting a valve, it is important to consider the pressure allowed in the system, the flow required in and out of the storage tank, the shutoff response required and the material’s compatibility to the chemical. One common type of valve that is appropriate for many chemical storage solutions is the ball valve.
What is a Ball Valve?
A ball valve is operated by a quarter turn and uses a floating valve for closure. This means that when the valve is pivoted, it’s closed. So, there is easy visual confirmation of a sealed close (the handle is perpendicular to the path, not in line with it). The ball valve gets its name from the fact that there is a ball floating in the mechanism that controls the flow of chemical in and out of the tank. You can push chemical through it and not let it out or vice versa. There are also many different types of ball valves, including single body ball valves, top entry ball valves and split body ball valves. The valve typically operates the same way in each type. However, the difference lies in how the components are manufactured.
Benefits of Ball Valves
- As we mentioned above, a ball valve gives you peace of mind that the valve is sealed. Visually seeing the handle turned makes for quick glance awareness of open/shut status. If a leak develops in piping or fittings, the valve can be closed up stream and prevent further loss. This saves on the cost of chemical in such cases, and saves you the hassle of any potential cleanup.
- Another benefit to the ball valve is that they are relatively inexpensive; so, one-piece ball valves are easy to replace, two-piece versions are easy to clean, and three-piece versions are easy to repair.
- Quick quarter turn on-off operation.
- Tight sealing with low torque
- Smaller in size than most other valves
When To Consider A Different Valve
- In slurry applications, suspended particles can settle and become trapped in the valve cavity causing wear, leakage, or valve failure
- Can be a higher weight on larger size fittings, such as the IMFO. In some cases decreasing the weight hanging on the neck of larger sized fittings can be decreased by using a butterfly valve.
Ball valves are available in a variety of materials to ensure compatibility with the chemical in the storage tank, and there are different o-rings, elastomers and seats that can ensure safety and compatibility. The construction of a ball valve is considered simple, but superior to other types of valves in situations where visual confirmation of shutoff and easy cutoff is important.