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A valve that uses a spherical obstruction (a ball) to stop and start the hydraulic flow.

A ball valve
is usually rotated 90° to open and close. This article will highlight only the important points in
The points discussed in this article are:

 — Applicable codes
 — Reduced bore / full bore design
 — Soft seated / Metal seated design
 — Side Entry / Top Entry / Welded body design
 — Valve ends / Valve operators
 — Floating / trunnion mounted design
 — SPE / DPE / Body cavity relief features
 — DBB / DIB / Extended bonnet / weld overlay
 — Anti static / Fire safe design / Sealant Injection
 — Seat insert materials / O-rings / Lip seals
 — Special Requirement for ESD Valve &
 — Lifting & supporting requirements

The article will be divided in few parts and published in due course.
Ball Valves Features:

 Quarter turn straight thru valve / fast opening & closing

 Tight Shut off as well as very easy to use
 Application as isolation valve (on and off condition)
 Suitable for Emergency shutdown conditions


 Not suitable for throttling

 Fluid trapped in the body cavity
 Limited working temperature range

Applicable Standards for Ball Valve :

 Design Std. – API 6D / ISO 14313 / BS EN 17292

 Testing Std. – API 6D / API 598 / BS 6755 Part I
 Fire testing – As per API 6FA, API 607, ISO 10497 or BS 6755 Part II.
 Dimensional Std. – ASME B16.10 / API 6D

Ball Valves Patterns:

 Short pattern
 Long pattern

Generally long pattern dimension is selected for ease of connection to pipe flanges.
Ball Valve Internals

Ball Valve Design Types

 Soft seated and Metal seated Design

 Reduced bore and Full bore Design
 Body types – Split, Top entry or welded body
 Floating and Trunnion mounted Design &
 Single / double piston effect design

Reduced Bore (Reduced Port) Design

 Bore dia. 1 size less than pipe dia. for valve size up to 12”NB & 2 size less for 14”NB to
24”NB (and 3 sizes less for sizes above 24”NB).
 Smaller and lighter valves.
 Have lower operating torque, resulting in lower cost actuated valve package.
 Slightly higher pressure drop than full bore valve.
 Prevents pigging
 These valves are normally of one piece – end entry design for smaller sizes (up to 4”-
150#) & two / three piece – side entry design for bigger sizes.
 These valves are also called as regular port valves.

Full Bore (Full Port) Design

 Bore inside diameter same as pipe inside dia.

 Very less pressure drop
 Of higher weight than reduced bore valve, hence more costly.
 Selected for specific process reasons, typically; minimum pressure drop, minimal
erosion, pigging requirement and gravity flow (to avoid liquid pocket)

Soft Seat Design

 Thermoplastic or Elastomeric seats are inserted in a metallic holder (seat ring) to

provide soft seating action
 Provide good sealing ability
 Lower in cost than metal seated valves
 Limited temperature rating
 Should not be used in dirty services, particularly on floating ball valves
 Soft seat materials used are – PTFE, Nylon, Devlon, PEEK, etc
 It is generally accepted a leakage of ISO 5208 Rate A

Metal Seat Design

 — Direct metal to metal contact between seat ring & ball.

 Valves are used for abrasive service and for services where soft seated valves can not
be used due to temperature limitations.
 — The ball & seat contact surfaces are hard faced to improve resistance to wear &
prevent scratching caused by the solid particles contained in the process media.
 — Metal sealing may be obtained by tungsten carbide coating (up to 200 deg. C),
chromium carbide coating (above 200 deg. C), electroless nickel plating (ENP) or
stellite hard facing.
 — Acceptable leakage of ISO 5208 Rate D.

Single Piece Body Design

 In the single piece design valve, the body will be cast/forged as one piece. The insertion
of the ball will be through the end of the body and is held in position by body insert.
 This design offers the unique advantage of eliminating the possibility of external
leakage to the atmosphere through bolted body joints.
 This design restricts the valve to be of reduced port floating design only (for sizes up to

Two piece / Three Piece Design

 Two-piece design complements the single-piece design in sizes of 6” & above for
reduced bore and for FB design valves.
 In two piece design, the body is constructed in two pieces and the ball is held in position
by body stud. There can be full bore or reduced bore design possible in this
 In case of three piece design, the body has two end pieces and one centre piece.
 Three piece design valves are most easily on-line maintainable. By removing the body
bolts keeping only one, the body can be swung away using the last bolt as fulcrum, to
carry out any installation or maintenance operation on the valve. This feature reduces
maintenance downtime to a bare minimum.

 For larger 2 piece or 3 piece valves the dimensions between the body and flange
should be checked so that sufficient clearance is available for bolting.
 During vendor drawing review same should be checked.
Top Entry Design

 Maintenance and repair possible in-situ, by removing the top flange. This minimises the
maintenance downtime.
 Limited space is required around the valve for maintenance.
 Available in welded as well as flanged ends, but welded ends are preferred to reduce
potential leak paths and minimise valve weight.
 Heaviest and most expensive construction.

Welded Body Design

 Welded body construction eliminates body flanges, reduces potential leak paths and
increases resistance to pipeline stresses.
 Minimum number of leak paths, hence beneficial in fugitive emission and vacuum
 Compact and light weight design
 The body draining & venting feature allows the valve maintenance technician to test
each seat rings sealing ability with the ball in either the full open or full closed positions.
 Sealant injection fittings access directly to each seat ring. This enables the technician to
top-up the quantity of lubricant inside the valves sealant injection system on a periodic
 Valve cleaner can also be injected into these fittings to flush out the old grease in the
valve and to clean critical seal faces on the ball.
 Heavier sealants are also injected through the sealant injection fittings during an
emergency when a critical seal is required.
 Applications – Oil & Gas pipelines, compressor stations, measuring skids, etc.

Valve Ends
The type of valve ends are as follows:

 Flanged ends with raised face or ring joint face

 Threaded ends
 Socket weld ends
 Butt-weld ends – Soft as well as metal seated butt-welding end valves shall be provided
with butt-weld pup pieces.
 This avoids damage to the valve seat as well as soft seal materials due to welding heat.
 The pup piece length shall be 200mm for sizes up to 2”NB, 400mm for up to 12”NB size
& 800mm above 12”NB sizes

Valve Operator

 Ball Valves can be operated by a lever, wrench, hand wheel or they can be pneumatic,
hydraulic or motor operated.
 A ball valve is rotated in clockwise direction to close & anti-clockwise direction to open.
 The maximum lever length shall not exceed 450mm & max. hand wheel diameter shall
not exceed the valve face to face dimension or 800mm whichever is smaller.
 Gear operator is required to be provided for valves as per below criteria:
 6” & larger for class 150 valves
 4” & larger for cl. 300 & 600 and
 3” & larger for cl. 900 onwards
Floating or Seat Supported Design

 — Ball valve design in which the ball is not rigidly held on it’s rotational axis & is free to
float between the seat rings.
 In the closed position ball is pushed against the seat by the pressure of the fluid from
upstream and hence can pressure seal the down stream of the valve.
 Ball seats on the downstream seat only.
 Seat loading increases at higher pressure and for larger size and becomes excessive,
for soft seated valve. Also, the higher the size the heavier the ball, less likely to be
moved by pressure. Hence the need of trunnion mounted design comes into picture.

 — Floating design valves have lower manufacturing cost.

 Valves of small sizes and lower pressure rating are seat supported (10” for 150#, 6” for
300# & 2” for 600# & above).
 Seat supported design generally needs higher operating torque.
 Metal seated floating ball valves also incorporate spring loaded seats.

Trunnion Mounted Design

 The ball is fixed in position by the stem & the trunnion which are supported in bearings
in the body.
 The seat are spring loaded onto the ball, giving reliable sealing at low pressures.
 The key feature is that the ball does not shift as it does in a floating valve to press the
ball into the downstream seat. Instead, the line pressure forces the upstream seat onto
the ball to cause it to seal.
 As the area on which the pressure acts is much lower, the amount of force exerted on
the ball is much less, leading to lower friction values and smaller actuators or gear

 Seat designs are either single or double piston effect.

 Valves of larger sizes and higher pressure rating are trunnion mounted.
 All standard trunnion mounted ball valves shall be provided with self relieving seats
allowing automatic body cavity relief exceeding 1.33 times the valve pressure rating at
38°C (overpressure due to thermal expansion of trapped fluid).

Body Cavity Relief (Pressure Equalisation)

 Ball valves are double seated valves which incorporate a cavity between the seats.
 Body cavity will get pressurised only when the seats are damaged.
 Cavity relief provision required only for trunnion mounted ball valves. Not required for
floating ball valves as the seats are fixed & the ball is floating.
 Where possible, cavity relief shall be to the upstream side of the valve.

Single Piston Effect Seat Design

 Seats are pressed on the ball by means of spring load.

 As the body cavity pressure increases than the spring load, the seats are pushed back
and the pressure is released in the line. This is called as single piston effect (the
pressure in the body cavity is the only acting parameter)
 Cavity relief to the downstream side, if both valve seats are of single piston effect
 Each seat is self relieving the body cavity overpressure to the line.

Double Piston Effect Seat Design

 In this seat design, medium pressure as well as the body cavity pressure creates a
resultant thrust that pushes the seat rings against the ball. This is called as double
piston effect (the pressure in pipe & that in the body cavity both are acting parameters)
 Valves with this design requires a cavity pressure relief device to reduce the body cavity
 DPE is synonymous with “bi-directional”, and SPE is synonymous with “uni-directional”
as defined by API 6D/ISO 14313.

 When the body cavity pressure increases above the net spring load of the pressure
relief valve, the cavity pressure is vented through Pressure Relief Valve.
 The RV outlet line can be vented to atms / connected to vent system or back to the
upstream piping.
DPE – External pressure relief
Combination Seats

 In some cases, single piston effect seat is used for upstream side and double piston
effect seat is used for downstream side.
 This enables the cavity overpressure to release to the valve upstream side and also
don’t require an external relief valve.
 These valves are unidirectional and flow direction is clearly marked on the valve body.

Seat Design for Export Line

 This seat configuration gives a single barrier against normal flow condition and a
double barrier against reverse flow coming from downstream pipeline.
 For ESD/PSD valve, reverse configuration is required than that shown here. ESD
valves requires SPE for upstream seat and DPE for downstream seat.
Seat Design for Export Line

Double Block & Bleed (DBB) feature

 When the valve is in fully closed or fully open position, each seat seals off the process
medium independently at the same time between the up/down stream and body cavity;
it allows bleeding of the cavity pressure through drain or vent valve.
 This DBB feature permits in-line periodic inspection of the valves and the checking of
sealing integrity when the valve is installed in line.
 This feature is available with self relieving seat (SPE) configuration.


 If a ball valve has both seats as unidirectional (SPE) seats, it is called as Double Block
& Bleed (DBB).
 If a ball valve has one or both bidirectional (DPE) seats, it is called as Double Isolation
& Bleed (DIB).
 In the DBB valve, the downstream seat pushes away from the valve once the body
cavity pressure is higher than the downstream pressure, allowing fluid to flow
downstream past the closed valve. In the DIB valve the downstream seat seals and
prevents the upstream pressure from reaching the downstream piping.
Double Block & Bleed (DBB) feature
Blow Out Proof Stem Design

 When the valve is in the open / closed position, pressure is always acting upon the
bottom of the stem, trying to push the stem up.
 The stem is sealed by o-rings and graphite packing rings.
 The stem is held in position by the stem housing, which is bolted to the body.
 The graphite packing rings are compressed and held in position by the gland flange,
which is bolted to the stem housing.
 Therefore, when the gland flange is removed to replace the graphite packing rings, the
stem is still held securely, by the stem housing.
 That means the blow-out proof stem feature ensures that the top graphite packing rings
can be replaced while the valve is under pressure, without the stem being pushed out
(blown out).

Blow Out Proof Stem Design

Anti-Static Design

 Build-up of static electricity can occur as a result of constant rubbing of the ball against
the PTFE seats. This can be a potential fire hazard, especially while handling
flammable fluids.
 In the anti-static feature, spring loaded balls are provided between the ball & stem and
stem & body which provides electrical continuity.

Anti Static Stem Design

Fire Safe Design
1) Internal Leakage Prevention (from pipeline to body cavity)

 When non-metal resilient seats are destroyed in a fire, the upstream medium pressure
push the ball into the downstream metal seat lip to cut-off the line fluid and prevent the
internal leakage due to a secondary metal-to-metal seals.
 Another fire safe packing is provided at the seat ring for internal leakage prevention to
body cavity.
 Graphite is normally used as a fire safe packing material, because the melting point of
graphite is 1000 deg.C.
Fire Safe Design
2) External leakage prevention (from body/stem joints to atms)

 All the possible external leakage points between stem & gland flange, gland flange &
body and body & adapter are sealed with primary O-ring then secondary graphite
gasket. When fire burned out the primary O-ring seal, the secondary graphite gasket
seal can prevent the process medium from external leakage.
 Fire safe seals are generally not designed for fugitive emission performance (fugitive
emission – emissions of gases or vapors from pressurized equipment due to leaks).
 The fire testing of valves is carried out as per API 6FA, API 607, ISO 10497 or BS 6755
Part II.

External Leakage Prevention

Fire Safe Vs Fire Tested Design

 Fire safe design is a design that by the nature of it’s features and materials is capable
of passing a fire test.
 It is capable of passing a fire test with specified limits on leakage to the atmosphere and
downstream after being closed subsequent to fire exposure.
 A fire tested design is a design subjected successfully to fire testing as per the
applicable testing standard.
 That means the fire safe valves are not necessarily be fire tested by the manufacturer.

Valve Fire Testing Criteria

 One test valve may be used to qualify valves larger than the test valve, not exceeding
twice the size of the test valve.
 A 16” size valve will qualify all larger sizes.
 One test valve may be used to qualify valves with higher pressure ratings but no greater
than twice the pressure rating of the test valve.
 The above criteria is acceptable for valves of same basic design as the test valve &
same non-metallic materials.

Sealant Injection System

 Valves are to be equipped with sealant & lubricant injection connections located at stem
and seats area, if specified by purchaser.
 The valve design & material selection should negate the need for such connection.
 If specified, this injection connection is integrated with check valve to provide backup
sealing, also a check valve is equipped at front of seat sealant injection to avoid blowing
out in case of wrong operation.
 When the soft sealing materials (seat inserts and o-rings) are damaged and leakage
happened by fire or other accident, the sealant can be injected through the injection

Sealant Injection System

 The sealant injection system through the seat up to the ball contact circle may provide
temporary sealing until it is possible to restore the primary seal.
 No seat sealant injection shall be provided for ESD valves.