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What is a gate valve?

2022-12-02
Gate valves are widely used for all types of applications and are suitable for both above-ground and underground installation. Not least for underground installations it is paramount to choose the right type of valve to avoid high replacement costs.

Gate valves are designed for fully open or fully closed service. They are installed in pipelines as isolating valves and should not be used as control or regulating valves. Operation of a gate valve is performed doing an either clockwise to close (CTC) or clockwise to open (CTO) rotating motion of the stem. When operating the valve stem, the gate moves up- or downwards on the threaded part of the stem.

Where are gate valves used?
Gate valves are often used when minimum pressure loss and a free bore is needed. When fully open, a typical gate valve has no obstruction in the flow path resulting in a very low pressure loss, and this design makes it possible to use a pipe-cleaning pig. A gate valve is a multiturn valve meaning that the operation of the valve is done by means of a threaded stem. As the valve has to turn multiple times to go from open to closed position, the slow operation also prevents water hammer effects.



Gate valves with by-pass
By-pass valves are generally used for three basic reasons:

To allow the pipeline differential pressure to be balanced, lowering the torque requirement of the valve and permit one-man operation
With the main valve closed and the by-pass open, a continual flow is allowed, avoiding possible stagnation
Delayed filling of pipelines

Parallel vs wedge-shaped gate valves
Gate valves can be divided into two main types: Parallel and wedge-shaped. The parallel gate valves use a flat gate between two parallel seats, and a popular type is the knife gate valve designed with a sharp edge on the bottom of the gate. The wedge-shaped gate valves use two inclined seats and a slightly mismatched inclined gate.



Metal seated vs resilient seated gate valves
Before the resilient seated gate valve was introduced to the market, gate valves with a metal seated wedge were widely used. The conical wedge design and angular sealing devices of a metal seated wedge require a depression in the valve bottom to ensure a tight closure. Herewith, sand and pebbles are embedded in the bore. The pipe system will never be completely free from impurities regardless of how thoroughly the pipe is flushed upon installation or repair. Thus, any metal wedge will eventually lose its ability to be drop-tight.

A resilient seated gate valve has a plain valve bottom allowing free passage for sand and pebbles in the valve. If impurities pass as the valve closes, the rubber surface will close around the impurities while the valve is closed. A high-quality rubber compound absorbs the impurities as the valve closes, and the impurities will be flushed away when the valve is opened again. The rubber surface will regain its original shape securing a drop-tight sealing.


 
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