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  1. Valve Sizing and Selection

    Sizing flow valves is a science with many rules of thumb that few people agree on. In this article I'll try to define a more standard procedure for sizing a valve as well as helping to select the appropriate type of valve. **Please note that the correlation within this article are for turbulent flow.

    Step #1: Define the System

    The system is pumping water from one tank to another through a piping system with a total pressure drop of 150 psi. The fluid is water at 70 °F. Design (maximum) flowrate of 150 gpm, operating flowrate of 110 gpm, and a minimum flowrate of 25 gpm. The pipe diameter is 3 inches. At 70 °F, water has a specific gravity of 1.0.
    Key Variables: Total pressure drop, design flow, operating flow, minimum flow, pipe diameter, specific gravity

    Step #2: Define a maximum allowable pressure drop for the valve

    When defining the allowable pressure drop across the valve, you should first investigate the pump. {parse block="google_articles"}What is its maximum available head? Remember that the system pressure drop is limited by the pump. Essentially the Net Positive Suction Head Available (NPSHA) minus the Net Positive Suction Head Required (NPSHR) is the maximum available pressure drop for the valve to use and this must not be exceeded or another pump will be needed. It's important to remember the trade off, larger pressure drops increase the pumping cost (operating) and smaller pressure drops increase the valve cost because a larger valve is required (capital cost). The usual rule of thumb is that a valve should be designed to use 10-15% of the total pressure drop or 10 psi, whichever is greater. For our system, 10% of the total pressure drop is 15 psi which is what we'll use as our allowable pressure drop when the valve is wide open (the pump is our system is easily capable of the additional pressure drop).

    Step #3: Calculate the valve characteristic

    For our system:
    At this point, some people would be tempted to go to the valve charts or characteristic curves and select a valve. Don't make this mistake, instead, proceed to Step #4!

    • Nov 01 2012 12:41 PM
    • by Chris Haslego