Non-Return Valve

Non Return Valve

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Check Valve, Clack Valve, Non-Return Valve or One-Way Valve is a Valve that normally allows Fluid (Liquid or Gas) to flow through it in only one direction.

Check Valves are self-activating safety valves that permit gases and liquids to flow in only one direction. The purpose of a check valve is to prevent process flow from reversing in the system which could damage equipment or upset the process. They are classified as one-way directional valves. Check Valves are commonly found protecting pumps in liquid applications or compressors in gas systems where backflow could cause the pump or compressor to shut down. They are also applied in process systems that have varying pressures, which must be kept separate. They do not need an outside power supply to operate since they use the pressure drop created by the media flow.

Check Valve

Types of check valves

  • Ball Check Valve

A Ball Check Valve is a Check Valve in which the closing member, the movable part to block the flow, is a spherical ball. In some ball check valves, the ball is spring-loaded to help keep it shut. For those designs without a spring, reverse flow is required to move the ball toward the seat and create a seal. The interior surface of the main seats of ball check valves are more or less conically-tapered to guide the ball into the seat and form a positive seal when stopping reverse flow.

Ball Check Valves are often very small, simple, and cheap. They are commonly used in liquid or gel minipump dispenser spigots, spray devices, some rubber bulbs for pumping air, etc., manual air pumps and some other pumps, and refillable dispensing syringes. Although the balls are most often made of metal, they can be made of other materials, or in some specialized cases out of artificial ruby. High pressure HPLC pumps and similar applications commonly use small inlet and outlet ball check valves with both balls and seats made of artificial ruby, for both hardness and chemical resistance. After prolonged use, such check valves can eventually wear out or the seat can develop a crack, requiring replacement. Therefore, such valves are made to be replaceable, sometimes placed in a small plastic body tightly-fitted inside a metal fitting which can withstand high pressure and which is screwed into the pump head.

There are similar check valves where the disc is not a ball, but some other shape, such as a poppet energized by a spring. Ball check valves should not be confused with ball valves, which is a different type of valve in which a ball acts as a controllable rotor to stop or direct flow.

  • Diaphragm Check Valve

A Diaphragm Check Valve uses a flexing rubber diaphragm positioned to create a normally-closed valve. Pressure on the upstream side must be greater than the pressure on the downstream side by a certain amount, known as the pressure differential, for the check valve to open allowing flow. Once positive pressure stops, the diaphragm automatically flexes back to its original closed position.

  • Swing Check Valve or Tilting Disc Check Valve

A Swing Check Valve or Tilting Disc Check Valve is Check Valve in which the disc, the movable part to block the flow, swings on a hinge or trunnion, either onto the seat to block reverse flow or off the seat to allow forward flow. The seat opening cross-section may be perpendicular to the centerline between the two ports or at an angle. Although swing check valves can come in various sizes, large check valves are often swing check valves. The flapper valve in a flush-toilet mechanism is an example of this type of valve. Tank pressure holding it closed is overcome by manual lift of the flapper. It then remains open until the tank drains and the flapper falls due to gravity. Another variation of this mechanism is the clapper valve, used in applications such firefighting and fire life safety systems. A hinged gate only remains open in the inflowing direction. The clapper valve often also has a spring that keeps the gate shut when there is no forward pressure. Another example is the backwater valve (for sanitary drainage system) that protects against flooding caused by return flow of sewage waters. Such risk occurs most often in sanitary drainage systems connected to combined sewerage systems and in rainwater drainage systems. It may be caused by intense rainfall, thaw or flood.

  • Stop-Check Valve

A Stop-Check Valve is a Check Valve with override control to stop flow regardless of flow direction or pressure. In addition to closing in response to backflow or insufficient forward pressure (normal check-valve behavior), it can also be deliberately shut by an external mechanism, thereby preventing any flow regardless of forward pressure.

  • Lift Check Valve

A Lift-Check Valve is a Check Valve in which the disc, sometimes called a lift, can be lifted up off its seat by higher pressure of inlet or upstream fluid to allow flow to the outlet or downstream side. A guide keeps motion of the disc on a vertical line, so the valve can later reseat properly. When the pressure is no longer higher, gravity or higher downstream pressure will cause the disc to lower onto its seat, shutting the valve to stop reverse flow.

  • In-Line Check Valve

An In-Line Check Valve is a Check Valve similar to the lift check valve. However, this valve generally has a spring that will 'lift' when there is pressure on the upstream side of the valve. The pressure needed on the upstream side of the valve to overcome the spring tension is called the 'cracking pressure'. When the pressure going through the valve goes below the cracking pressure, the spring will close the valve to prevent back-flow in the process.

001-check-valve-definition

A Check Valve, Clack Valve, Non-Return Valve or One-Way Valve is a Valve that normally allows Fluid (Liquid or Gas) to flow through it in only one direction.

Check Valves are self-activating safety valves that permit gases and liquids to flow in only one direction. The purpose of a check valve is to prevent process flow from reversing in the system which could damage equipment or upset the process. They are classified as one-way directional valves. Check Valves are commonly found protecting pumps in liquid applications or compressors in gas systems where backflow could cause the pump or compressor to shut down. They are also applied in process systems that have varying pressures, which must be kept separate. They do not need an outside power supply to operate since they use the pressure drop created by the media flow.

002-industrial-check-valve-application

Applications of Check Valve

  • Pumps

Check Valves are often used with some types of pumps. Piston-driven and diaphragm pumps such as metering pumps and pumps for chromatography commonly use inlet and outlet ball check valves. These valves often look like small cylinders attached to the pump head on the inlet and outlet lines. Many similar pump-like mechanisms for moving volumes of fluids around use check valves such as ball check valves. The feed pumps or injectors which supply water to steam boilers are fitted with check valves to prevent back-flow.

  • Industrial processes

Valves play a large role in most industries. They are used in many parts of daily mechanical devices, including in HVAC and water systems in an office and the gasoline mechanism for an automobile. Below are a few examples of the many industries in which valves play a major role in proper operation.

Check Valves are used in many fluid systems such as those in Chemical and Power Plants, and in many other Industrial Processes.

Typical applications in the nuclear industry are feed water control systems, dump lines, make-up water, miscellaneous process systems, N2 systems, and monitoring and sampling systems. In aircraft and aerospace, check valves are used where high vibration, large temperature extremes and corrosive fluids are present. For example, spacecraft and launch vehicle propulsion propellant control for reaction control systems (RCS) and Attitude Control Systems (ACS) and aircraft hydraulic systems.

Check Valves are also often used when multiple gases are mixed into one gas stream. A check valve is installed on each of the individual gas streams to prevent mixing of the gases in the original source. For example, if a fuel and an oxidizer are to be mixed, then check valves will normally be used on both the fuel and oxidizer sources to ensure that the original gas cylinders remain pure and therefore nonflammable.

  • Domestic Use

Some types of irrigation sprinklers and drip irrigation emitters have small check valves built into them to keep the lines from draining when the system is shut off.

Check valves used in domestic heating systems to prevent vertical convection, especially in combination with solar thermal installations, also are called gravity brakeRainwater Harvesting Systems that are plumbed into the main water supply of a utility provider may be required to have one or more check values fitted to prevent contamination of the primary supply by rainwater. Hydraulic Jacks use ball check valves to build pressure on the lifting side of the jack.

  • Pipelines

This use is an essential aspect of many industries, but there are hundreds of thousands of miles of crucial pipelines that transport media from its source to the place where it will be transformed into its final product. This media could include piping for crude oil and gas, both onshore and offshore. Valves are used to optimize the pipeline operating conditions, and can be found in the upstream, midstream and downstream section of the piping. Upstream starts at the bottom of the hole in the ground and covers everything on the wellhead up to the choke. In this case, the choke is a specialized globe valve that is mounted on the wellhead to regulate the output of the well. Midstream starts at the output of the choke and ends at the fence of the final destination (usually a refinery). Downstream is everything inside the area of the destination. The most important factor to consider when selecting a valve for a pipeline application is whether the valve is piggable – that is, the inside is designed to be cleaned or inspected. 

  • Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry is a subset of the pipelines category. Due to the high demand for oil and gas, deeper wells, longer pipelines, and lower production costs have become necessary. Along with the need for an inexpensive valve, the device must also be tougher, last longer, and perform better to meet the demands of the industry. Valve service environments and operating conditions are often extreme with high temperatures (greater than 1,500°F) and high pressure (greater than 25,000 psig) or cryogenic and very low pressure applications. Another feature important to valves used in the oil and gas industry is the capacity for remote control.

  • Food and Beverage

The food and beverage industry is a large and growing industry with an increasing need for parts and products that keep plants running smoothly .The industry’s many challenges, including safety concerns, have prompted strict material requirements for the valves used in these plants. There are two classifications for valves in the food and beverage industry: those in direct contact with food materials and those handling utility services (i.e. steam, water). For valves which come into direct contact with food, there are regulations in place (issued by such organizations as the FDA) which require that the inside of the valve be smooth enough to avoid trapping particles or bacterial accumulation. Valves made of a soft material must not absorb or hold any product going through the valve. These standards also specify that there should not be dead volume in the valve or crevices where material can be trapped to avoid decay or stagnate. Valves in the food and beverage industry do not face the high pressures or highly corrosive materials that are present in other industries.

  • Biopharm Industry

The biopharm industry is part of the larger chemical processing industry. The most important feature of valves used in this industry is their ability to be cleaned and sterilized. The chemical processing industry is responsible for processing raw materials into products. Since chemical processing often involves reactions using pressure and/or heat, and could cause toxic by-products, the media in this industry tends to be highly corrosive and abrasive. The valves need to be able to tolerate the nature of the media, as well as offer precise flow control and high leakage protection to protect against spills and cross-contamination.

  • Marine Industry

Valves play a critical role in the marine industry. As ships become larger and are used more frequently, they require the ability to generate power, treat and manage wastewater and control HVAC, as well as perform their required tasks. The size and application of the ship will determine the different types and number of valves on board. Valves are used to regulate the loading and storage of a ship’s power supply, provide water for fire-fighting capabilities, handle and processes wastewater and store any liquid cargo, among many other applications. Any valve that processes sea water must be durable, and all marine valves must be reliable due to lack of resources once out at sea.

These are just a few examples of the many industries and applications of check valves.

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