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16 May 2000

On-site Training Course

Production / Process
Module 3


Gap Elimination Program


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Production / Process

Module 3



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Introduction ______________________________________________________ 5


Common Valve Types ______________________________________________ 5


Valve Selection___________________________________________________ 12


Control Valves ___________________________________________________ 14



Valve Actuators __________________________________________________ 25



Control Valve Selection_________________________________________________ 14

Control Valve Sizing ___________________________________________________ 21
Valve Characteristics __________________________________________________ 22

Actuator Types________________________________________________________ 25
Methods of Actuation __________________________________________________ 25

Pressure Relief Valves_____________________________________________ 34


Safety Valves _________________________________________________________ 34

Relief Valves __________________________________________________________ 35
Safety-Relief Valves ____________________________________________________ 36
Vacuum Breaker Valves ________________________________________________ 36


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Upon completion of this Module, the developee will be able to correctly identify the

Common valve types

Classification of valves by function

Control valve types and principles of selection

Relief valves, safety valves and safety relief valves

Types of valve actuators and principles of operation.


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Valves are extensively used in oil field and plant operations. Because of this extensive use, their
selection and maintenance has become extremely important for production and process
personnel. The aim of this section is to help engineers and other production personnel to
understand the basic design of the various types of valves used in oil field operations.


Common Valve Types

The common valve types are tagged with names that are derived from either the design of the
fluid control element, the primary function of the valve, or the construction of the body. The
proper selection of valves depends to a large extent on understanding the distinctive features of
the basic types.

Valves are used to control flow. A valve may regulate (throttle), stop or start the flow.

There are many different types and sizes of valves. All valves have common characteristics
such as inlet and outlet ports and some way of closing.

Valves are made of different materials, such as cast iron, stainless steel, bronze and plastic.

The type of valve used in a system depends upon its application and the fluid to be
transferred. Valves are made in the same sizes as pipes so hat hey will match.

The regulating valve opens or closes as necessary to keep pressure constant. The throttle
valve is used to control the flow velocity. A valve used to start or stop fluid may perform
other functions such as; regulating or throttling.

The ball, globe, gate, butterfly, plug, needle, check and quick opening or fast acting valves
are common valves. Other types of specialised valves like relief and safety valves are also
used. Valves may be operated manually, mechanically, electrically, hydraulically or

Gate Valve
It is used to stop the flow of a fluid by a gate made of metal. The fluid flow is straight through
the body of the valve. The pressure loss through this valve is small.


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Globe Valve
The fluid flowing through the globe valve changes direction. The flow is controlled by a disc
moving up or down. Globe valves can be adjusted with few turns and they are preferred for
frequent opening and closing applications. They provide an excellent means of throttling flow.

Angle Valve

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It has same basic design as the globe valve. An angle valve reduces the number of joints required
if a valve is needed near a right-angle change in he direction of a pipeline.

Needle Valve
It is similar to the globe valve except that it is very accurate at metering the amount of fluid
passing through and is used as a control valve for most instruments.


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Ball Valve
It has a cylindrical hole through it. When the hole is in line with the pipe, flow is permitted.
When the ball is turned 90 degrees the solid surface of the ball blocks the flow. The pressure in
the line helps to keep the ball valve closed. Fluid can flow through it in either direction.

Plug Valves
The blocking element of the valve has an open rectangular or round channel through it. The plug
fits into the body of the valve and offers either its open part or its solid side to the fluid, a quarter
turn is required to change it from one position to the other.


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Butterfly Valve
It has a straight-through flow pattern. A plate called the Butterfly controls the flow passing
through the butterfly valve. This plate can be rotated so it blocks the flow through the valve or it
can be opened to allow the flow to pass. Butterfly valves are most commonly used as throttle

Check Valves
The purpose of the check valve is to permit fluid to flow through a line in one direction only.
When the fluid is moving in the proper direction, the valve remains open. If the fluid reverses,
then the valve is closed automatically by the pressure of the fluid acting against it.
Check valve types are swing check, lift check and ball check.


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Swing Check
Swing check valve closing element swings open and shut like a trap door. This valve offers little
resistance to flow when it is in the open position. Swing check valves are generally used in
piping applications where very little pressure drop is an important consideration.
Lift Check
These valves are either "Horizontal lift" or "Vertical lift" check.
Ball Check
These valves are designed to handle thick fluids, and for service where scale and other particles
are present. They are made in vertical, horizontal, and angular designs. Ball check valves are
recommended for applications of rapidly changing fluid flow because of their quiet operation.
The ball moves rapidly up and down as it opens and close. The ball rotates to equalise wear on
both the ball and the valve seat.
Check valves may be made of brass, cast iron, or steel.

Diaphragm Valves
The working parts of the diaphragm valves are always separated from the fluid flow. A flexible
diaphragm separates the working parts from the seat. The valve is used where there are problems
with corrosion, contamination, abrasion, clogging, and leakage.


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Quick-Opening Valves
They are modified to provide a quick on/off action. In place of the usual threaded stem and
control wheel, lever is used to operate the valve.

Safety Valves
They provide a rapid means of getting rid of excess pressure before serious accidents occur
Safety valves are used with gases and steam. These valves function by popping wide open at a
preset pressure. Safety valves remain open until pressure has dropped slightly lower than the
normal line pressure and the valve snaps shut instantly.


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Relief Valves
They are used with liquids and start to open at a preset pressure, as he line pressure increases.
The valve opens further until it has reached its maximum travel. As the pressure drops the valve
starts to close, at below its preset pressure limit it is completely closed.


Valve Selection
The first step in selecting a valve is to consider its function. Valve function, more than any other
factor, narrows down the choice of the valve. A classification of valves by function is given
On/Off Service

Gate Valves
Plug Valves
Ball Valves

Throttling Service

Globe Valves
Angle and Y Valves
Needle Valves
Butterfly Valves
Diaphragm Valves

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Pressure Control

Safety Valves
Relief Valves
Safety Relief Valves
Back Pressure Regulating Valves
Pressure-Reducing Valves

Other Controls

Solenoid Valves
Temperature-Regulating Valves
Flow-Regulating Valves

Prevention of Back Flow


Check Valves


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Control Valves
In process systems, the final control element is normally a pneumatically actuated control valve,
which is used to regulate the flow of a fluid. It provides the necessary power to translate the
controller's output to the process. Pneumatics are used because of the original popularity of
pneumatic control systems and the comparatively low operating pressures used.

Of the basic components of a control loop the control valve is subject to the harshest conditions.
A control valve is also the most expensive item and the most prone to incorrect selection.


Control Valve Selection

The choice of control valve will depend upon the application. i.e. flow control, ESD etc.
The main factors to take into account are the valves' ability to regulate flow, the pressure
loss/recovery when fully open and the shut-off leakage. For instance a globe valve gives
good flow regulation, has poor pressure recovery at high flow rates and does not give
tight shut-off, whereas a ball valve has poor flow regulation characteristics, low pressure
loss at high flow rates and has the advantage of tight shut-off. Space is another factor
that can come into the equation.


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The main selection factors of control valve type can be summarised as follows:

The process requirements:

The inlet pressure, the differential pressure across the valve, the maximum and minimum
flows and the degree of shutoff required.




(a) Basic elements





(b) Operation


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Control Valve Sizing

Normally a valve is designed to handle its maximum flow when it is at 75% open.
Making the valve too big or too small would be detrimental to the operation of the valve
and the loop. Valves should not operate below the 1 0% open position or above the 90%
open position.

Suitable flow characteristics to match the process

Fail safe mode
Proper choice of valve body type and accessories.
Correct installation

Valve shutoff
There are six classes of valve leakage

Class 1 no test
Class 11 0.5% of rated valve capacity
Class Ill 0.1% of rated valve capacity
Class IV 0.0 1 % of rated valve capacity
Class V 0.005% mL/min of water per inch of port diameter per psi differential
Class VI bubble tight

If tight shutoff is required, it is good practice to provide a tight shutoff isolation valve in
series with the throttling valve. The soft seat in a throttling valve will need to be
frequently replaced if it used to carry out tight shutoff.
Valve Trim
Valves control the rate of flow by introducing a pressure drop across the valve trim. The
valve trim consists of the plug and seat (these are usually sold as matched sets, which
have been ground to a precise fit in the fully closed position).
All valves have a throttling action that causes a reduction in pressure. If the pressure
increases again too rapidly air bubbles, entrained in the fluid implode, causing rapid
erosion of the valve plug and seat surfaces. This process is known as cavitation.


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Valve Characteristics
The flow characteristics of a valve defines the flow behaviour of the valve as it is
operated through its rated stroke. It is usually shown as a plot of valve opening or lift (%
of maximum) against flow (% of maximum). The characteristics quoted by the
manufacturers are theoretical or inherent flow characteristics obtained for a constant
pressure drop across the valve. The actual or installed characteristics are different from
the inherent characteristics, since they incorporate the effects of line losses acting in
series with the pressure drop across the valve.
The three main types of characteristics are:


This is the characteristic of the level seated disc or plain flat disc type of valve
plug. With this type of valve, near maximum flow rate occurs at relatively small
stem travel, approximately 35%, after this value there is little change in flow rate.


The linear characteristic shows that the relationship between valve opening and
flow at constant pressure drop is a straight line, i.e. equal increments of lift should
cause equal increments of flow (30% flow at 30% open, 70% flow at 70% open).


Equal Percentage
As the name implies, an equal percentage valve is one in which equal increments
of lift cause equal percentage increments in flow. In practical terms this means
that the valve will give accurate throttling control over its lower range and rapidly
increasing capacity as it approaches the wide open limit. This implies that the
sensitivity of the valve increases with valve opening. These valves are used when
major changes in pressure occur across the valve and where there is limited data
regarding flow conditions in the system.


Use of Valve Characteristics.


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Normally the choice of valve characteristic required by the loop is established by

carrying out a dynamic analysis of the control loop but there are rules of thumb
that can be applied to general situations.

Linear trims are used in situations, such as level control, where the pressure
drop across the valve is constant.

Equal percentage trims are best used in flow situations where the pressure
drop across the valve will vary as the flow goes from its minimum value to its
maximum value. This is especially true on pumped systems.

Quick opening valves are useful in by-pass or re-cycle lines where a basic onoff control of flow is required.


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Valve Actuators

Actuator Types
The actuator provides the power to vary the orifice area of the valve in response to a signal
An actuator is classified according to its input signal and its output to the power element (valve
etc.). It maybe mechanical, pneumatic, electrohydraulic, or electro-pneumatic.
It can receive its operating air signal from a pneumatic controller either directly or through an
auxiliary device such as a valve positioner. The input signal usually varies between 0.2 and 1
Bar, acting on the effective area of the actuator. This results in a force which is used to position
the control valve.
The diaphragm type of pneumatic actuator consists of a flexible diaphragm in a pressure tight
housing attached to the valve stem. The diaphragm acts as a pressure seal between the upper and
lower chambers. The conventional type diaphragm consists of a flat piece of flexible material of
circular shape and is pre-moulded to prevent crimping or stretching. The upper and lower cases
of the diaphragm housing are usually held together by bolting or clamping.
The diaphragm actuator is available with either a straight stem or a lever for connection to the
final control element. These are referred to as thrust and lever type respectively. The thrust type
is used where the actuator stem can be directly coupled to the valve stem such as with globe or
gate valves. The lever type is used with final control elements such as butterfly valves.


Methods of Actuation
By use of the correct failure mode of the actuator, the valve can be made to FAIL TO OPEN or
FAIL TO CLOSE depending on the fail-safe requirements of the process.
The main actuator types available are:

Spring Type Diaphragm Actuator

In this type of operator, a spring opposes the force of the air pressure acting over the
effective area of the diaphragm. It provides a given position of the valve stem for a
specific input signal pressure received from the controller. This design is inherently fail
safe, reliable and has few moving parts.
It has however limited power, limited seat shutoff capabilities and is slow to operate.


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Piston Type Actuator

The air piston provides high torque or force and has a fast stroking speed. It provides a
high power to weight ratio, has few moving parts and an excellent dynamic response. It
can handle high differential pressures and provides high shutoff capability.

5.2.3 Valve Positioners

In theory, a control valve should respond quickly to small output changes from the
controller. However, if the controller output pressure is very small, the actuator may not
be able to develop sufficient force to position the valve correctly and/or fast enough for
good control, This failure could be caused by stiction between the stem and the valve
packing, unbalance of the valve plug due to the hydrostatic forces of the process fluid or
hysteresis within the valve itself.
This creates two main problems:

It takes a greater force to initially move the valve in any direction, so causing a dead
Once the valve is moving, the initial force applied will cause the valve to accelerate
and this in turn could cause overshoot and instability in the process

Therefore instead of sending the signal from the controller directly to the valve
diaphragm, the signal is passed to a slave controller, with its own air supply, known as a
A positioner is fitted to a valve in such a way that it can monitor the valve position and
adjust its output signal until the valve is at the position required i.e. the inclusion of a
positioner provides closed loop control of the valve position.
Positioners can provide the following benefits

accurate positioning of the valve stem

ability to change the valve characteristics
split the operating range of two or more valves
increase the speed of response
reverse the action of a valve

5.2.4 Solenoid Actuators

These are only used on small control systems where on-off control is required. Mostly
they are found in the form of three way valves on the signal lines from the controller to
the valve for ESD use. On removal of the power the valve will disconnect the controller
from the valve and vent the air in the valve to atmosphere.

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It is necessary to take the flow characteristics into account when making a
choice of valve. Choosing the wrong valve can result in a process that is
difficult to control over a range of conditions.


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Valve Failure Mode with Different Valve/Actuator Setups


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Relief valves operate when the pressure in a system or a vessel rises above or drops below the
safe limit.
Three types of pressure-relief valves are used:

safety valves

relief valves

safety-relief valves

All three types of PZVs perform the same basic function. They relieve excess pressure in a
system. Most PZVs relieve pressure to the blowdown system. Some relieve pressure to the
atmosphere. This occurs when PZVs are at the top of Very tall columns, or to discharge air or
In the plant, pumps, boilers, heat exchangers and vessels operate under pressure. These can
operate safely a little above normal operating pressures. However, there is a limit to how much
pressure a piece of equipment can withstand. Relief valves can safely vent excess pressure.


Safety Valves
High-pressure steam or gas systems use safety valves. A safety valve is a pressure
relieving device. Vapors can be compressed, so safety valves must open quickly when
the set pressure is exceeded. A safety valve makes a sharp popping sound when it opens.


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6.1.1 Major Parts of a Safety Valve

Figure 17 shows the major parts of a typical safety valve. A safety valve operates
automatically by static gas or vapor pressure upstream of the valve. Each valve
has a hand lever so you can also operate it manually.

6.1.2 How Safety Valves Function

Gas pressure upstream of the valve presses on the
disc. The disc connects to a spring actuator. At the
set pressure, the spring starts to compress and the
valve pops open.


Relief Valves
A relief valve is another kind of automatic pressure
relieving device. Relief valves relieve liquid pressures.
Liquids cannot be compressed. So releasing a small
amount of liquid brings the pressure down to safe levels. A
typical relief valve relieves only 10% of its opening
The figure shows a relief valve. The main parts are similar
to a safety valve. Relief valves do not pop like safety
valves. They open gradually as the upstream pressure
Relief Valve

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Safety-Relief Valves
You will see safety-relief valves on all process equipment. These valves can operate
either as safety valves on gas or vapor systems, or as relief valves on liquid systems.
The main parts are similar to a safety valve or a relief valve. Safety-relief valves can
operate as either type.


Vacuum Breaker Valves

Some tanks in the tank farm have vacuum breaker valves. These let air into the tank to
prevent it from pulling a vacuum. If a partial vacuum develops inside the tank, it may
rupture. Vacuum breaker valves open at a very low positive pressure. This takes air into
the tank. Inside and outside pressures remain the same.


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