The butterfly valve is used throughout a variety of industries thanks to their versatility and usability. They are quick opening, quarter turn valves that regulate or isolate the flow of various gasses and liquids in a manner similar to ball valves. The big difference is that the butterfly valve is generally less expensive and lighter in weight, thus giving it a favorable preference by mechanics, engineers, and maintenance. However, one of the downfalls of a butterfly valve is that the disc must always be in the process traveling through the valve.
How A Butterfly Valve Works
The butterfly valve is comprised of a body, seat, disc, stem, and actuator. Each of these components is available in a variety of materials and other options. It's important to properly combine these trim features from materials that will best suit the environment and service for which it's intended. The central disc of the body is known as the butterfly and is what gives this valve its name. This butterfly is mounted to the stem and when the valve is switched to the closed position, the butterfly rotates on the stem and prevents the passage of fluid or gas by nestling itself against the round seat of the valve's body. This provides a sound seal. To switch the butterfly valve into the open position, the butterfly is moved a quarter turn (hence its quarter turn classification) so that it faces 90 degrees from the seat to allow unrestricted flow of fluid or gas.
Common Uses for Butterfly Valves
Like any valve, you want to choose the right valve for the right application and use so that your intended task can be easily and adequately accomplished. The following are several of the more common situations in which the butterfly valve is the preferred choice:
- Commercial-favorite shut off valve - Butterfly valves are one of the best options for shut off valves available today. They take up much less space than your typical ball valve and are generally much lighter allowing them to be more cost effective. The butterfly valve can be used for many applications, and because this valve costs less than the typical ball valve that would otherwise be bought for the same application, it's a great option when the job requires an effective shut-off valve. Consider using a butterfly valve for 2" and larger.
- Microbreweries - Many microbreweries use sanitary butterfly valves for their systems. These valves can be easily cleaned as well as easily automated to create an automated system.
- Boating and petroleum industry - Sailboats, commercial ships, and petroleum transporters heavily rely on butterfly valves as they function well in the harsh environment of the ocean where saltwater, oil, and temperature fluctuations can do a toll on many a mechanism. The lightweight and simple design of the butterfly valve makes it adaptable to a range of delicate and industrial-style piping systems common throughout the boating and petroleum industries.
Choosing the Right Butterfly Valve
Butterfly valves are generally categorized into three types based on pressure and usage:
- Resilient seated butterfly valve - Used mostly for low pressure application, this type has a flexible rubber seating best for pressures under 232 Psi.
- High performance butterfly valve - Able to be used in situations with up to 735 Psi operating pressure, this valve has a unique disc arrangement to increase its sealing ability and robustness.
- Tri-centric butterfly valve - With a metal seat instead of a rubber one, this valve is designed for super high pressure conditions of up to 1450 Psi.
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