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Tech Talk

Removing Some Mystery that


Surrounds Control Valve Coefficients
In the control valve world, theres noth- such as a ball valve, if the valve is at 100%
ing quite like valve sizing. It permeates open, it can and does reach Fd values of 1.0.
every valve style, size, and manufacturer. For non-standard valve types the Fd value can
Since its inception, valve sizing has rather reach values as low as .001, as some multi-
quickly evolved into its own branch of port trim styles can create very small flow
passages which produce low Fd values. While
engineering, where it encompasses parts
the Fd can seem ambiguous and is often
of mechanical, acoustical and chemical
misunderstood, if it is looked at as being
engineering. However, some reps and end
simply one flow area divided by the total
users consider it somewhat superfluous. errors in the calculations. Compounding the the more flow the valve can handle without flow area one can learn to more quickly to
They often assume finding the proper problem it often takes a trained eye to see choking. This factor can vary according to assess Fd values on data sheets by keeping
solution is done by selecting a valve these errors. The point of this article is to give valve style and between models of the same this relationship in mind. Referring to the
based on required CV. This is a serious the reader some general guidelines to spot style. Consequently, this article is only meant values in Chart 1.1 may assist in this analysis.
mistake, as many engineers have found such errors. We will briefly explore the three to give a general guideline of the acceptable
when their process reaches Mach 1 and it most common coefficients in hydrodynamic ranges for the given valve styles. Prior to bringing up the third and final sizing
sounds like a jet is taking off inside their sizing and provide the reader with a means coefficient that shall be discussed, one
plant! to determine if they fall within the proper The next factor to discuss is the Valve Style should note that there are many different
ranges for the specified valve type. Modifier or Fd. This is perhaps the most ways to calculate cavitation, each of which
By John Roper - Yeary Controls misunderstood factor in valve sizing and can employs different factors. For this paper we
Well start with the most common coefficient, be calculated by using the geometry of the shall focus on XFZ, even though a commonly
the so called Pressure Recovery Factor or valve or flow testing analysis. We will focus seen factor when calculating cavitation is
The norm these days is for the manufacturer FL. This factor was introduced in the 1960s on the valves geometry as the basis for Kc. While Kc has its usefulness in the proper
to provide a valve sizing data sheet based by Dr. H.D. Baumann and adopted into determining the valve style modifier, which place its erroneously used in a popular sizing
on the conditions the customer has given international standards in the ISA Handbook is defined as the hydraulic diameter of a program as the point at which cavitation
to them. This sizing sheet gives the end of Control Valves. 1 FL is the ratio of effective single flow passage divided by the equivalent starts, leading to an incorrectly calculated
user an estimate of how well the valve will pressure drop to the pressure difference circular diameter of the valves total flow Cavitation Pressure Drop value. The
perform, and is nearly always provided by between the upstream pressure and the vena area.3 Consider the design of a butterfly proper use of Kc is to determine the point
the manufacturers own sizing program. contracta pressure. While officially termed valve, which has two flow passages, one at which cavitation begins to effect flow
These sizing programs are great in that they Liquid Pressure Recovery Factor, it is used on each side of the disc. By definition any rates. However, it has been shown that the
take many complex equations and slim them for both gas and liquid sizing. It is determined butterfly valve (regardless of style or model) inception of cavitation occurs well before
down to a handful of inputs. These programs by test procedures and calculations found cannot, under any circumstances, have an this point, and this leads to an undervalued
allow calculations to be done by many people in ISA-75.02-1996.2 In essence, this factor Fd value of 1.0. This is because one of the assessment of the cavitations intensity and
that may not understand all of the intricacies represents the valves ability to prevent flow passages will always be smaller than the noise emission.4 If a sizing data sheet only
of control valve sizing. This is both a blessing choking conditions. Assuming all other total flow areas equivalent circular diameter. has a Kc factor, and does not utilize an XFZ
and a curse. It is efficient but it can lead to conditions remain the same, the higher the FL When considering a full pass through valve, input, this author advises that the sizing

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Tech Talk
results should be verified by contacting a rated CV, while also giving it higher XFZ and As always, if ever a situation arises where
company that specializes in valves to be FL, and lower Fd when compared to other the figures do not make sense based on
certain the calculations are error free. butterfly valves.7 It is important to note that the topics covered here it is best to contact
products or designs that change the standard the valve manufacturer for an explanation
With that in mind, the third coefficient we geometry of valve styles will also impact the of the discrepancies. Valve sizing is a very
will consider is the vital XFZ, or the incipient coefficients; in that case, the charts in this important; when it is done properly, it will
cavitation factor. This value represents article will likely not apply. However, when lead to increased profits, less downtime, and
the valves ability to prevent the onset of analyzing a valve with standard geometry the increased outputs.
cavitation. It is found by lab testing the valve control. All control valves have a typical topics discussed in this article can be used to
and increasing upstream pressure until the control range which is based on their design determine if the data sheet provided with a Special thanks to Art Yeary, without whom
inception of incipient cavitation. Equation and style. The control ranges may vary control valve quotation is properly calculated. this article would not have been possible.
1.1 shows the way this factor is determined slightly from Chart 1.2, but it can be used
in flow analysis, where P1= upstream as a general guideline. When examining the
pressure, P2= downstream pressure, Pmin= angle of opening, if the valve is shown to be About the Author
the minimum pressure the fluid reaches.5 outside of the controllable ranges listed, it John Roper is a sales engineer that began working at Yeary Controls
Typical values for XFZ are found in the would be a good idea to discuss this with the in 2010. While his schooling was in Chemistry, when combined with
included chart. While these values can vary sales rep that provided the data sheet. Also, his interests in all things mechanical, valves became the perfect fit for
based on valve design, we can be certain if there is a significant difference between
him. He currently does valve sizing, CAD design and 3D printing for
values approaching 1.0 are reserved only for the valves positions at different conditions,
there should also be a noticeable difference Yeary Controls. He has written his own sizing program and continues
the most severe cavitation abating valves that
usually employ multi-port trims with several between the coefficients. As a valve opens, to make improvements in it based on the latest valve sizing research.
stages. In this authors opinion, the values of the geometry in relation to the process He can be reached at jroper@yearycontrols.com.
XFZ are the most important to check, and can changes, therefore the coefficients should
tell a lot about a valve, before even looking change. As a rule of thumb, during the stroke
at the performance. Since cavitation is the from closed to open, Fd should go up, while
the FL & XFZ should go down.4
main cause of pipe and valve failure in liquid Citations
applications with significant pressure drop 1. Hutchison, J.W. ISA Handbook of Control Valves, Instrument Society of America.
it is absolutely critical the XFZ is thoroughly It is pertinent to mention that there are
components that will change both the Pittsburgh, PA. 1971.
investigated.
range of control and coefficients for certain
When analyzing a sizing data sheet, besides valves. One example is a cartridge called 2. Control Valve Capacity Test Procedures, Instrument Society of America ANSI/
coefficients, it is also important to consider the Sharktooth that is installed on the ISA-75.02-1996
the point at which the valve can no longer downstream side of a butterfly valve, giving
it controllability from 1.5 to 80 percent of 3. Flow Equations for Sizing Control Valves, Instrument Society of America ISA-S75.01

4. Kiesbauer, J. "Control valves for critical applications." Hydrocarbon Processing 80.6


(2001): 89-100.

5. Samson, A. G. "Cavitation in control valves." Samson Technical Information (2003).

6. Inherent Flow Characteristic and Rangeability of Control Valves, Instrument Society of


America, ISA-75.11-1985 (R1996).

7. Buse, Dave and Arthur Yeary. An important Advancement

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