Though their designs and exact functions may vary, valves are essentially devices that can be put into a system to help control the flow of liquids. Mainly this involves starting, stopping or regulating the amount of fluid that’s passing from one part of a plumbing, pneumatic, hydraulic or industrial system to another.
As such, valves are essential for a variety of different operations, including:
- Throttling the flow of fluids to prevent leakages and ensure the system functions efficiently
- Stopping the flow of liquids such as oil, petrol or chemicals quickly in the case of emergencies
- Controlling the direction of fluid flow to ensure there are no backflow, leakages or blockages
- Releasing or controlling the level of pressure within a system
- Regulating the amount of fluid passing through a system, ensuring that any processes can be completed efficiently
Each valve is designed to function in specific ways, so it's important to check exactly how the different types operate alongside a valve’s specific dimensions, materials and end connection design. Matching the size of the valve to the diameter of the pipes used in a system is important to ensure it can be fitted accurately.
The material of the valve will also depend on the amount of pressure and type of liquid passing through the system. For example, if corrosive chemicals or petrol is moving through a system, then stainless steel valves will be durable and resistant enough to withstand them.
Finally, the type of end connection on the valve is important to ensure the pipe fits it correctly and will operate efficiently. Threaded, flanged and socket-welded connections are just some types that are available on valves.