Ball valves play a crucial part in your day-to-day life. The truth is that you’re using them every day, from cars to bikes and more.
Ball valves have various shapes and sizes. They also have different appliances, functions, and dimensions.
The gas and oil industry has a lot of applications for ball valves. If you’re a gas or oil engineer, you probably know that ball valves are extremely crucial parts of piping systems.
People use them for different purposes throughout the oil and gas industry. For upstream applications, ball valves handle the flow of oil.
For the midstream, ball valves protect tools by controlling the flow of oil and gas. For downstream, people use them for refining crude oil.
Due to their appliances in the industry, every engineer needs to be well acquainted with the different types of valves and their uses in the gas and oil industry.
Design of a Ball Valve
For those who don’t know, ball valves were first invented in 1950. After its invention, it immediately became popular in a variety of sectors.
This includes water treatment plants, papermaking industries, petroleum industries, chemical plants, and much more.
Ball valves are a simple tool. They consist of a ball that is attached to a pipe. The ball has a hole in the middle. This hole enables gas and liquid to pass through it when the hole is lined up with the pipe.
The flow of the fluid stops when the ball turns and the hole isn’t in line with the pipe anymore.
Ball valves have been designed to endure high pressures and temperatures. This is particularly true for the latest models.
In addition to that, they’re extremely durable. It means that they can regulate and/or maintain extreme pressures and volumes, as well as high-velocity flows.
This is the main reason why people place huge importance on the ball valve oil and gas industry.
Parts of a Ball Valve
One of the main reasons why the gas and oil industry prefers to use ball valves is due to their simple components. The basic parts of a ball valve include:
The valve seat offers sealing between the body of the valve and the ball.
The downstream seat is located on the opposite side of the upstream seat. It is adjacent to the discharge side of the valve.
The bonnet is the extension of the valve housing. It contains the stem and protects its packing. Manufacturers often bolt or weld the bonnet to the valve’s body.
In addition to that, it is typically made of hard metal and it protects the opening made from connecting the stem to the external control mechanism.
The stem links the ball to the control mechanism that rotates it. Typically, the stem has packings. The purpose of this is to seal the bonnet and the stem to prevent leakage of the fluid.
The most common packing used for ball valves is the O-ring. The stem might be operated manually using a lever.
However, modern ball valves often use hydraulic, pneumatic, or electric actuation to control the stem.
The ball is the primary component of a ball valve. It is a sphere that has a hole in the middle. This hole is also known as the bore.
The purpose of the bore is to offer a path to the fluid whenever the cross-section of the bore and the fluid flow path is coplanar.
Else, the flow is constricted or throttled.
- Valve Housing
Every internal part of a ball valve is contained inside the housing of the valve. Typically, it is known as the body.
The body is made of a rigid and hard metal that protects all internal parts.
Ball Valve Replacement and Repair
Whenever people talk about the benefits of ball valves, the first thing that comes to mind is their durability.
Ball valves are known for their ability to offer a lot of years of reliable service.
However, ball valves aren’t perfect. Damage can still happen over time, especially if it is constantly under strain.
Fortunately, the oil and gas industries don’t have to worry about this. The reason for this is that ball valves are extremely easy to fix.
Due to their basic design, you can easily access parts and seals to repair them if needed. Repairs also don’t require a lot of time and intense labor. All you need is to know DIY.
Another thing to keep in mind is that due to the regulating element of ball valves, they can easily function without having to worry about side loads.
Oftentimes, this is an issue when using globe or butterfly valves.
To make things simple, ball valves are less susceptible to damage compared to other types of valves due to their design.
Ball Valve Applications in Gas and Oil Industries
- Manufacturers can easily open and close ball valves. They also have air-tight sealing. Thus, they’re ideal in high-pressure applications.
- Compared to gate valves with the same size and rating, ball valves are more lightweight and compact.
- Ball valves are cost-effective. In addition to that, they are also easy to use.
- Metal-seated ball valves are helpful in both high-pressure and high-temperature applications.
- Ball valves are helpful for connecting instruments through instrument piping.
- Ball valves are applicable in vapor, gaseous, and air systems. Aside from that, a couple of industries use ball valves for hydrocarbon systems.
- You can use ball valves for various types of fluid applications. The reason for this is that on/off stop-valves have air-tight shut-off. Make sure you use hand sanitizer after you handle these fluids.
Ball valves are the most popular types of valves in the oil and gas industries. With the benefits it provides, it’s only normal for these industries to use it for their day-to-day processes.