Cavitation in Valves

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Valves can withstand limited durations of cavitation. Val-Matic recommends that the constant cavitation data be used when judging the affects of cavitation on the life of the valve. the pressure recovers. Figure 1. but when the valve must be throttled or modulated in cavitating conditions for long periods of time. As the vapor bubbles flow downstream.CAVITATION IN VALVES INTRODUCTION Cavitation can occur in valves when used in throttling or modulating service. Only special control valves with cavitation trim (i. the life of the valve can be drastically reduced. CAVITATION ANALYSIS Three levels of cavitation have been defined by AWWA. an analysis of flow conditions is needed when a valve is used for flow or pressure control. the liquid vaporizes (boils) and forms a vapor pocket. y Choked cavitation is the point where the vaporization of the fluid reaches sonic velocity in the valve port and limits the flow through the valve. a localized low pressure zone forms immediately downstream of the valve. y Incipient cavitation represents the beginning stage of cavitation where light popping noises are heard. sleeve valves) should be used for choked conditions. but also creates localized stresses in the pipe walls and valve body that can cause severe pitting. Therefore. If perfectly quiet operation is needed. y Constant cavitation is a steady rumbling sound associated with start of possible valve damage. and the bubbles violently implode causing a popping or rumbling sound similar to tumbling rocks in a pipe. If the localized pressure falls below the vapor pressure of the fluid. Cavitation Cavitation is a common occurrence in shutoff valves during the last few degrees of closure when the supply pressure is greater than about 100 psig. The sound of cavitation in a pipeline is unmistakable. then the factory should be consulted for incipient cavitation data.e. Cavitation is the sudden vaporization and condensation of a liquid downstream of the valve due to localized low pressure zones. A cavitation index can be calculated to predict whether cavitation will occur as follows: 1 . The condensation of the bubbles not only produces a ringing sound. When flow passes through a throttled valve.

prolonged throttling below 10 degrees open regardless of the cavitation index is not recommended because high localized velocities may scour and wear the valve seating surfaces. CAVITATION DATA Val-Matic conducted flow tests on quarter-turn valves and developed cavitation coefficients for the valves as shown in the graph below. dimensionless downstream pressure.P v ) / (Pu . As a rule of thumb. Cavitation Characteristics of Valves 2 . the cavitation index is calculated and plotted on the graph. psig -14. Valve Constant Cavitation Data 16 14 12 Cavitation Coefficient BUTTERFLY 10 SAFE OPERATING ZONE PLUG 8 6 BALL 4 2 CAVITATION ZONE 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 0 Valve Opening.2 psig for water at 60°F.σ where: σ = Pd = Pv = = Pu = = ( Pu . psig vapor pressure adjusted for temperature and atmospheric pressure. Next. Also. If the point is below the graphed line. sea level upstream pressure. Degrees Open Figure 2. cavitation may occur. manufacturers typically suggest that when σ is less than 2. the required valve angle must be calculated using the flow coefficient data for the subject valve.Pd) cavitation index. then constant cavitation will occur and prolonged throttling at that angle would not be recommended. psig The lower the value for the cavitation index. To use the graph.5. the more likely cavitation will occur.

Flow Characteristics of Valves 3 .000 14 6.800 60 180.000 42 87.100 369.800 42. psi Q = desired flow rate. BUTTERFLY.050 11.000 VALVE SIZE.000 480.750 8.5 240 3 320 380 4 570 590 6 1.100 27.700 54 144.070 2.000 12 4.750 6.600 18.430 4.300 14. Figure 3.500 66 221. AND BALL VALVE Cv FLOW COEFFICIENTS VALVE SIZE.500 18 10. calculate the required valve Cv from the following equation: __ Cv = Q / √∆P where: ∆P = valve differential pressure.600 70.310 8 2.000 Finally.VALVE COEFFICIENT DATA To determine the required valve angle for a particular flow application.520 48 114. the valve position in degrees open can be read off of the graph in Figure 3 and used to plot the cavitation index in Figure 2.000 10 3.200 1.000 106. gpm Given the required Cv. by finding this percentage on the vertical axis of the flow characteristic graph.500 24 18.700 61.250 4.000 16 8. the angle of throttling can be by dividing this Cv by the full open Cv shown in the table below.900 257.300 42. This is the percent of full open Cv.150 8. in Plug Butterfly Ball 1 37 2 150 2.200 15. If the point falls below the applicable valve curve.000 172. in Plug Butterfly Ball 30 28. PLUG.100 20 12.700 72 266. then serious cavitation may occur.000 56.000 36 40.550 22.350 30.

When cavitation is predicted.Pd) (11 . Calculate the cavitation index: σ σ σ = = = ( Pu .EXAMPLE APPLICATION An 8” plug valve equipped with a modulating motor will be used in a backwash system to limit the flow rate to a sand filter. Determine the valve angle: The full-open Cv for the 8” valve is 2070. 2. the throttling angle will be 22 degrees open. 4 .2 on the cavitation graph (Figure 2) with 22 degrees on the x axis.9% Referring to the plug valve characteristic curve in Figure 3. Install vacuum breaker ports immediately downstream of the valve to reduce the vacuum pocket. some available remedies include: 1. Decrease the differential pressure by using two valves in series. 4. 1. Increase the downstream pressure by throttling a downstream valve or installing an orifice. Plot the cavitation index of 4. The upstream pressure is a constant 25 psig because the supply source is an elevated tank.2 2. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS Valve manufacturers can perform an analysis to predict when cavitation will occur based on flow test data. 3.2)) / (11 . The point is above the cavitation line and is in the “Safe Operating Zone”.P v ) / (Pu . Pu equals 5 + 6 or 11 psig. Use a small bypass line for low flow rates. it was calculated that the valve must drop 6 psig. The percent of full open Cv is found by: % Cv = 100 x 122 / 2070 or 5. The valve is mounted near the sand filter and will see a downstream pressure of 5 psig while controlling the flow rate to 300 gpm.(-14. so cavitation will not be a problem.5) 4. At this flow rate. Therefore. 4. Calculate the required Cv: __ Cv = Q / √∆P_ Cv = 300 / √6 Cv = 122 3.

4.” pp. Head Loss. Journal AWWA. 27-32. Utah State University Lab Report No.. “Test Procedures for Determining Cavitation Limits in Control Valves. Rahmeyer.REFERENCES 1. “Test Report on the Hydraulic Performance of a 4” Plug Valve Owned by Val-Matic Valve”. 5 . pp. 1011. Journal AWWA.” pp 55-58. USU-180h. 2. AWWA Manual M49. Rahmeyer. Val-Matic Test Report No. W. and Cavitation Analysis. 3. Butterfly Valves: Torque. “Throttling Valves: Testing and Selection. Winn. 163-169. [Confidential]. William J.. Paul. March 1972. November 1986. William J.

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