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Last updateFri, 23 Jun 2017 4pm

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Why Air Valves are Needed in Water Applications

Why Air Valves are Needed in Water Applications

Air valves are hydromechanical devices d...

Achieving Profitability Through Maintenance Management

Achieving Profitability Through Maintenance Management

One of the distinctions between maintena...

Control Valve Positioner Performance Diagnostics

Control Valve Positioner Performance Diagnostics

There has been discussion for some years...

Are Your Safety Instrumented Systems Proof Tests Effective?

Are Your Safety Instrumented Systems Proof Tests Effective?

Many people assume that a proof test of ...

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Industry Headlines

ITT Announces President of Industrial Process Business

1 DAY AGO

ITT Inc. has appointed David J. Malinas as president of its Industrial Process business, reporting to Luca Savi, ITT's COO. In this role, Malinas will be responsible for delivering the strategic and operating plans of ITT's Industrial Process business, which employs about 2,500 people globally and h...

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Chesterton Expands Environmental Consulting Expertise

3 DAYS AGO

A.W. Chesterton Company  is expanding its global environmental solutions expertise with the addition of two highly experienced industrial emissions specialists, Bronson Pate and Beau Stander. Both will be joining FluidEfficiency, a Chesterton business group. Pate and Stander will serve in the ro...

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Smart Technology Transforming Oil & Gas Industry

2 DAYS AGO

“A new cadre of services companies, trying to sell the energy industry on the promise of a more efficient digital age, is fighting to get smart technology onto pipes, tanks, platforms and drills, in some cases deeply discounting prices to gain market share,” the Houston Chronicle reports .

C...

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U.S. Refineries Running at Peak Levels

3 DAYS AGO

Gross inputs to U.S. petroleum refineries, also referred to as refinery runs, averaged a record high 17.7 million barrels per day (b/d) for the week ending May 26, before dropping slightly to 17.5 million b/d for the week ending June 2 and 17.6 million b/d for the week ending June 9. According to th...

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Economic Indicators Index Rises for Fifth Straight Month

7 HOURS AGO

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3% in May to 127.0, following a 0.2% increase in April, and a 0.4% increase in March.

“The U.S. LEI continued on its upward trend in May, suggesting the economy is likely to remain on, or perhaps even moderately above, its...

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U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Continue Strong Recovery

1 DAY AGO

Manufacturing technology orders made year-over-year gains in April according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report from The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). It was also the first month that orders showed gains year to date for 2017.

Monthly orders were up 12.3% compar...

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Those Dam Valves and the Great Job They Do

vmsum12_dam_1A settling pool helps to dissipate the energy from the submerged output of turbine discharge lines.As the nation increasingly seeks sources for renewable energy, dams and the thousands of valves they contain will only become more important.

When we see a majestic dam, with its huge face of concrete holding back acres of water, probably the last thing we think of are the valves it takes to make them operate effectively. But large dams, especially those providing hydroelectric power, are full of valves of all sizes and types. There are gates, globes, checks, balls and butterflies, along with some very special valve designs used only in the water reclamation industry.

 

To get an idea of the valving used in dams, we need to look at how dams work. Although we tend to think of them as structures designed to hold back water and create attractive recreational lakes, their true purpose is much more complicated. Dams are usually built to provide crucial water resources, and in more and more cases, their purpose is to ­provide renewable electrical energy.

 

vmsum12_dam_2A 156-inch butterfly valve is used to shut off flow into a large turbine.The purpose of the valves in these structures is to adjust the output of the reservoir that forms behind those dams while maintaining the proper reservoir depth, both in times of flood and in drought. Looking at the top of a moderate-size dam, we would see a number of rolling gates or sluices that provide the modulation of flow necessary to balance water supply and demand. In fact, the most common style of gate or valve used is a rolling type, which functions very similar to a sluice gate valve that is open at the top. Although this is technically a valve, these gates are not at all like the valve designs used in other industries.

All dams of substantial size need to have a way of releasing water in controlled amounts because of changing reservoir capacities, downstream water demands or minimum stream flow requirements. These situations call for special valves designed to dissipate the large amount of energy created by the high head of water in the dam.


WHAT VALVES ARE USED

At first glance, it might appear that ­virtually any type of shutoff valve would work, but a closer look at the operating conditions provides a broader picture. These outlet valves, which are releasing water, are doing so at huge volumes, ­relatively high head pressures and at a resulting high velocity. The combination of output flow conditions can result in severe damage from cavitation at the valve outlet. This phenomenon can ­rapidly destroy many types of valves, so measures to abate the cavitation must be taken either in valve selection or ­piping design.

Durivmsum12_dam_3Working on valves or piping within a dam environment sometimes calls for getting into tight spots.ng the early part of the 20th century, standard valve types such as gate and globe valves were given this flow control job. But the effects of cavitation destroyed them at an alarming rate. As a result, engineers looked at new valve designs, such as the Larner-Johnson needle valve, to solve the problem. Other solutions were also tried, included forcing air into the downstream flow of standard valve types to keep cavitation from occurring.

The needle valves, however, have done a good job for many decades, yet newer designs have now replaced many of those work horses. Both fixed-cone and jet-flow gate valve designs are now used in such applications and are ­currently being retrofit into existing structures as funds permit.

The fixed-cone, or Howell-Bunger valve, is a simple balanced design that requires little energy to open or close. The outlet of a fixed-cone valve is very similar to the outlet of a fireman’s hose nozzle or a high-end home garden hose nozzle, in that the high water pressure is squeezed around the periphery of the stationary cone by changing the position of the circular seat that is inset in the inside diameter of the moveable sleeve. The flow is regulated by adjusting the amount of water pressure introduced into the chamber behind the cone via a regulated water inlet.

The jet-flow gate valve looks like a large fabricated slab gate valve, similar to some API 6D designs. However, the secret to its energy-dissipating success is in the flow chamber of the valve. As designed, the slightly smaller inlet, with an inward taper just before the gate area, directs the mass of water into a narrow jet as the water exits the valve. The downstream port of the valve also flares out to avoid damage from the intense jet of water.

This design eliminates the possibility of cavitation damage. However, if the valve has a submerged outlet, a “stilling chamber” needs to be provided to dissipate the turbulent water flow and prevent scouring damage. A stilling chamber is a large pool of water sized to dissipate the output water energy without damage to the surrounding underwater landscape. If the jet-flow gate valve releases into the air, a structure-free zone needs to be provided for the length of the outlet stream.


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