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A Guide to Ball Valves

In the intricate world of plumbing, ball valves stand out as essential components, playing a crucial role in controlling the flow of fluids. From household plumbing systems to industrial applications, these valves are omnipresent. But have you ever stopped to ponder how they actually work?

Ball valve and piping

Let’s look into the mechanics of ball valves, unravelling their inner workings and shedding light on their functionality.

The Basics: What is a Ball Valve? 

Before delving into the mechanics, let’s grasp the basics. A ball valve is a type of quarter-turn valve that uses a hollow, perforated, and pivoting ball to control the flow of fluids. It operates by rotating a spherical disc (the ball) to either block or allow the flow through the valve.

The position of the ball determines whether the valve is open or closed. 

Anatomy of a Ball Valve: 

To understand how ball valves work, it’s essential to dissect their anatomy: 

  1. Body: The main structure housing the internal components. 

  2. Ball: The spherical disc with a hole (bore) through its centre. 

  3. Stem: The rod attached to the ball, used to rotate it. 

  4. Seat: The sealing surface where the ball rests to create a watertight seal. 

  5. Port: The opening through which fluid flows when the valve is open. 

  6. Handle or Actuator: The mechanism used to rotate the ball, controlling the flow. 

How Ball Valves Work: 

Open Position: When the valve is in the open position, the ball’s hole aligns with the flow of the pipe, allowing fluid to pass through. The handle or actuator is turned so that the ball rotates 90 degrees, positioning the bore parallel to the pipe, creating an unobstructed pathway for the fluid. 

Closed Position: Conversely, when the valve is closed, the ball is rotated 90 degrees from the open position, blocking the flow of fluid. In this position, the bore of the ball is perpendicular to the pipe, preventing any passage of fluid. 

The Sealing Mechanism: 

One of the critical aspects of ball valves is their sealing mechanism. When in the closed position, the ball presses against the valve seat, creating a tight seal that prevents any leakage.

The effectiveness of this seal depends on the quality of the materials used and the precision of the manufacturing process. 

Advantages of Ball Valves: 

  • Quick Operation: Ball valves can be opened or closed rapidly with a simple 90-degree turn, allowing for swift control of fluid flow. 

  • Durability: Their simple design and robust construction make ball valves highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. 

  • Versatility: They can handle a wide range of fluids, including liquids, gases, and slurries, making them suitable for various applications. 

  • Minimal Maintenance: Due to their simplicity and reliability, ball valves require minimal maintenance, reducing downtime and operational costs. 

  • Easy Visualisation of Valve Position: The position of the handle will indicate whether the valve is in the open or closed position. If the valve is open the handle will point in line with the valve and if closed the handle will be horizontal to the valve. 

Ball valves are indispensable components in the realm of fluid control, offering efficiency, reliability, and versatility.

Understanding their mechanics not only deepens our appreciation for these valves but also equips us with the knowledge to make informed decisions in selecting and maintaining them for different applications.  

You can currently save an extra 5% on all valves on our website, discount will be applied automatically at checkout. Browse our wide selection of valves here.

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