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Control Valves

Control Valve Characteristics


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All control valves have an inherent flow characteristics that defines the
relationship between ‘valve opening’ and flowrate under constant pressure
conditions.

Please note that ‘valve opening’ in this context refers to the relative position of
the valve plug to its closed position against the valve seat. It does not refer to
the orifice pass area.

The orifice pass area is sometimes called the ‘valve throat’ and is the narrowest
point between the valve plug and seat through which the fluid passes at any

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time. For
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flowrate and orifice pass area is always directly proportional.

Valves of any size or inherent flow characteristic which are subjected to the
same volumetric flowrate and differential pressure will have exactly the same
orifice pass area.

However, different valve characteristics will give different ‘valve openings’ for the
same pass area. Comparing linear and equal percentage valves, a linear valve
might have a 25% valve opening for a certain pressure drop and flowrate, whilst
an equal percentage valve might have a 65% valve opening for exactly the same
conditions. The orifice pass areas will be the same.

Control Valve Characteristics


The physical shape of the plug and seat arrangement, sometimes referred to as
the valve ‘trim’, causes the difference in valve opening between these valves.
Typical trim shapes for spindle operated globe valves are compared in below
figure-1.

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In this Tutorial, the term ‘valve lift’ is used to define valve opening, whether the
valve is a globe valve (up and down movement of the plug relative to the seat) or
a rotary valve (lateral movement of the plug relative to the seat).

Rotary valves (for example, ball and butterfly) each have a basic characteristic
curve, but altering the details of the ball or butterfly plug may modify this. The
inherent flow characteristics of typical globe valves and rotary valves are
compared in Figure.

Globe valves may be fitted with plugs of differing shapes, each of which has its
own inherent flow/opening characteristic.

The three main types available are usually designated:

Fast opening.
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Linear.
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Equal percentage.

Examples of these and their inherent characteristics are shown in below figure-
2.

Fast opening characteristics


The fast opening characteristic valve plug will give a large change in flowrate for
a small valve lift from the closed position. For example, a valve lift of 50% may
result in an orifice pass area and flowrate up to 90% of its maximum potential.

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A valve using
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characteristic.

Unlike linear and equal percentage characteristics, the exact shape of the fast
opening curve is not defined in standards. Therefore, two valves, one giving a
80% flow for 50% lift, the other 90% flow for 60% lift, may both be regarded as
having a fast opening characteristic.

Fast opening valves tend to be electrically or pneumatically actuated and used


for ‘on / off’ control.

The self-acting type of control valve tends to have a plug shape similar to the
fast opening plug in Figure .1. The plug position responds to changes in liquid or
vapour pressure in the control system.

The movement of this type of valve plug can be extremely small relative to small
changes in the controlled condition, and consequently the valve has an
inherently high rangeability. The valve plug is therefore able to reproduce small
changes in flowrate, and should not be regarded as a fast opening control valve.

Linear characteristics
The linear characteristic valve plug is shaped so that the flowrate is directly
proportional to the valve lift (H), at a constant differential pressure.

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A linear valve
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and the orifice pass area (see below Figure .3).

For example, at 40% valve lift, a 40% orifice size allows 40% of the full flow to
pass.

Equal percentage characteristic (or logarithmic characteristic)


These valves have a valve plug shaped so that each increment in valve lift
increases the flowrate by a certain percentage of the previous flow.

The relationship between valve lift and orifice size (and therefore flowrate) is not
linear but logarithmic, and is expressed mathematically in below Equation

Where:

 = Volumetric flow through the valve at lift H

x = (ln t) H Note: ‘In’ is a mathematical function known as ‘natural logarithm’


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t = ValveWe'll
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typically 50 for a globe type control valve)

H = Valve lift (0 = closed, 1 = fully open)

max = Maximum volumetric flow through the valve

Example

The maximum flowrate through a control valve with an equal percentage


characteristic is 10 m/h. If the valve has a turndown of 50:1, and is
subjected to a constant differential pressure, by using Equation what
quantity will pass through the valve with lifts of 40%, 50%, and 60%
respectively?

Where:

t = Valve rangeability = 50

H = Valve lift (0 = closed, 1 = fully open)  =   0.4; 0.5; 0.6

max = Maximum volumetric flow through the valve  = 10 m/h

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The increase in volumetric flowrate through this type of control valve increases
by an equal percentage per equal increment of valve movement:

When the valve is 50% open, it will pass 1.414 m/h , an increase of 48% over
the flow of 0.956 m/h when the valve is 40% open.
When the valve is 60% open, it will pass 2.091 m/h , an increase of 48% over
the flow of 1.414 m/h when the valve is 50% open.

It can be seen that (with a constant differential pressure) for any 10% increase in
valve lift, there is a 48% increase in flowrate through the control valve.

This will always be the case for an equal percentage valve with rangeability of 50.
For interest, if a valve has a rangeability of 100, the incremental increase in

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flowrate We'll
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Table below shows how the change in flowrate alters across the range of valve
lift for the equal percentage valve in Example with a rangeability of 50 and with a
constant differential pressure.

Change in flowrate and valve lift for an equal percentage characteristic with
constant differential pressure

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Flowrate and valve lift for an equal percentage characteristic with constant
differential pressure for Example

A few other inherent valve characteristics are sometimes used, such as


parabolic, modified linear or hyperbolic, but the most common types in
manufacture are fast opening, linear, and equal percentage.

Articles You May Like :

Facts About Control Valves

Valve Erosion Problems

Pressure on Control Valve Lift

Valve Cavitation & Flashing

Objective Questions on Valves

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