How to choose the right flow control valve for your application


Both gate and Ball Valve are flow control valves and ar […]

Both gate and Ball Valve are flow control valves and are available in a variety of sizes and materials, as well as in different temperature and pressure ratings. Although these types of valves can be used in similar environments, there are significant structural and operational differences between the two. Gate valves are used to completely stop or start the flow of fluid through a pipe by raising or lowering a solid rectangular gate. These valves consist of body, seat, disc, spindle, gland and actuator. Gate valves are not used to regulate flow - they are designed to be fully open or fully closed. These valves are slower than quarter-turn valves such as ball valves because they require more than 360° of rotation to change the gate position, whereas ball valves only need to be turned 90° to cycle from open to closed and vice versa.


Therefore, gate valves may not be the best choice for applications that require frequent operation or fast cycle times. Gate valves are most often controlled by a manual handwheel, but electric and pneumatic actuation options are also available. Solid rectangular gates control the flow of media through the gate valve, while ball valves rely on rotating balls to control the flow of liquids or gases. There is a hole (or hole) in the ball through which the medium passes, and its position indicates whether the valve is open or closed. Ball valves can be designed with multiple openings, also known as ports. Two-way ball valves have two ports for basic on/off control.


There are also multi-port valves for applications that require media to be diverted in different directions or may require multiple media sources. Since ball valves only need to be turned 90° to control the position of the ball, they are a faster on/off control option than gate valves. Ball valves can be actuated manually or automatically. As we mentioned, ball valves are operated by turning the ball 90°, while gate valves are controlled by moving the gate up or down. Because of their design, ball valves close almost instantly, while gate valves do not act as quickly.


This makes ball valves a better choice for applications that require fast cycle speeds. The 90° operation of the ball valves allows them to cycle faster, either manually or with an actuator. This is a benefit in most cases, but can cause water hammer in high pressure applications. If the pressure is high enough, the pipe can weaken or even burst, which is why users of manual ball valves should turn the lever slowly to avoid water hammer.