Country, region and language selection

International websites

Europe

Americas / Oceania

Africa and Middle East

Asia / Pacific

10 min read

Valves in building services applications: types, functions and selection

When energy costs are to be minimised in a supply system while maintaining maximum operating reliability, decisive roles are not only played by the load profile but also, especially, by the hydraulic conditions and, hence, the valves used. What valves are available and how to select the right valve? This article has got the answers. Enjoy finding out more!

When energy costs are to be minimised in a supply system while maintaining maximum operating reliability, decisive roles are not only played by the load profile but also, especially, by the hydraulic conditions and, hence, the valves used. What valves are available and how to select the right valve? This article has got the answers. Enjoy finding out more!

What is a valve?

In plant engineering and, in particular, in piping technology, valves are defined as components that influence the flow of fluids by opening, closing or partially obstructing the passage of the fluid flow or by diverting or mixing the fluid flow. 

What are the different types of valves?

In general, valves are distinguished by their design features into the basic designs of gate valve, globe valve, ball valve, butterfly valve and diaphragm valve. 

Gate valve

A gate valve is a valve whose obturator moves in a straight line and, in the seating area, at right angles to the direction of flow.

Product images of KSB's STAAL 40 AKD/AKDS gate valves

Product images of KSB's STAAL 40 AKD/AKDS gate valves

product images of KSB's  STAAL 100 AKD/AKDS gate valves

Product images of KSB's  STAAL 100 AKD/AKDS gate valves

Globe valve

A globe valve is a valve whose obturator moves in a straight line and, in the seating area, in the direction of flow.

Product images of BOA-Control / BOA-Control IMS valves

Product images of BOA-Control / BOA-Control IMS valves

Ball valve

A ball or plug valve is a valve whose obturator rotates about an axis at right angles to the flow direction; in the open position, the fluid flow passes through it.

Product image of an ECOLINE BLT 150-300 valve

Product image of an ECOLINE BLT 150-300 valve

Butterfly valve

A butterfly valve is a valve whose obturator rotates about an axis at right angles to the flow direction; in the open position, the fluid flow passes around it.

Product image of a BOAX-S/SF valve

Product image of a BOAX-S/SF valve

Diaphragm valve

A diaphragm valve changes the flow passage as a result of the deformation of its flexible obturator.

Product image of a SISTO-16 TWA valve

Product image of a SISTO-16 TWA valve

Check valve

A check valve opens automatically when flow passes through the valve in a specified direction; the valve automatically prevents flow in the opposite direction.

Product image of KSB's SERIE 2000 valve

Product image of KSB's SERIE 2000 valve

Strainer

A strainer filters undesired solids from the fluid handled.

Product image of KSB's BOA-S strainer

Product image of KSB's BOA-S strainer

Valves are further categorised by the functions they perform (e.g. shut-off and safety valves, control valves, mixing or distribution valves) and by the applications they are used for (e.g. power station, heating, gas or foodstuff valves). Valves can also be distinguished by their type of actuation: manually operated valves, electrically, pneumatically or hydraulically actuated valves and process fluid controlled valves (e.g. flow limiters, differential pressure regulators, safety valves, etc).

Key characteristics

Being aware of the key characteristics helps in using valves successfully and safely. Here is a brief overview: 

Nominal size

The nominal size (code DN from the French "diamètre nominal") in building services refers to the inside diameter of a pipe. It is composed of the letters DN and a number linked directly with the physical size of the connections (in mm). Example: DN 32

Pressure

Pressure (code p) is defined as the force exerted per unit area.

Nominal pressure

The nominal pressure (code PN from the French "pression nominale") is a reference value. It indicates the design pressure in bar at room temperature (20 °C). It is composed of the letters PN and the highest permissible pressure. Example: PN 10

Volume flow rate

The volume flow rate (code Q) refers to the quantity of liquid or gas that flows through a pipe in a specified time unit.

Resistance coefficient

The resistance coefficient (code ζ, zeta) indicates the resistance of valves or other fittings in pipes acting in the direction opposite to the flow direction. The larger ζ, the higher the pressure loss. Good to know: The ζ value applies to the valve in fully open condition.

Pigging

Pigging is the cleaning of a pipe with a pig or another cleaning device travelling through the pipe.

Flow coefficient

The Kv value and Kvs value are also known as the flow factor or flow coefficient. They are used for comparing, selecting and dimensioning valves. The value is specified in m³/h.
The Kv value corresponds to the water flow through a valve at:

  • Differential pressure of 1 bar
  • Temperature between 5 °C and 30 °C.

There is an associated Kv value for every degree of opening (actuator stroke, actuator angle).

Plotting these Kv values over the stroke provides the characteristic curve of the valve. The Kv value is calculated as follows, where r [kg/dm³] is the density factor of the fluid, Q [m³/h] is the volume flow rate and [bar] is the differential pressure.

Kv = Q ∙ √ r/∆p 

→ for water with r = 1, the following results:

Kv = Q / √∆p 

Kvs valueFlow through a fully opened valve (100 % degree of opening)

A valve has only got one Kvs value but several Kv values.

In 10 steps to the right valve at the example of a data centre

The best way of finding a suitable valve that is also the most efficient choice is by employing a systematic approach. Follow these step-by-step instructions to find a valve meeting your requirements. You will automatically eliminate the valves that are unsuitable for your project. This is illustrated at the example of a cooling circuit for supplying a heat exchanger in a data centre. The volume flow rate in the example is 200 m3/h, which leads to the recommended nominal size of DN 150.


1. What function is to be fulfilled?

We require a valve for the shut-off task (OPEN/CLOSED). Examples of other functions are measuring, throttling or controlling.

Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


2. What is the fluid that will flow through our valve?

What chemical properties has the fluid got? Is the fluid corrosive and/or abrasive? Does the fluid contain solids or could it also be explosive? It is important that the valve material is resistant to the fluid handled. The fluid in our example is cooling water used in a closed circuit.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


3. What are the temperature requirements?

The fluid temperature and ambient temperature also play a major part in selecting the right valve. Examples of some key temperature limits are -50 °C / -30 °C / -10 °C / +60 °C / +120 °C / +350 °C. These are values at which, usually, a different material has to be chosen. In our example, the fluid temperature is +6 °C and the ambient temperature is +20 °C. We are in an indoor environment.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


4. What are the pressure requirements?

How much pressure does the valve need to seal to atmosphere? What is the pressure or differential pressure to be decreased by our valve between the inlet and outlet?
In our example, the system pressure is approx. 8 bar. The planned nominal pressure class of the piping is PN 16.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


5. What standards, regulations and acceptance criteria need to be met?

In our example, the safety requirements of Annex I of the European Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EU (PED) for fluids in Groups 1 and 2 apply. In addition, the valve is to be maintenance-free.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


6. Resistance coefficient ζ, zeta

Since we would like our system to be as efficient as possible, we are looking for a valve with an extreme (very low) resistance coefficient. This is where one of the valve types is eliminated in our example.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve/ ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


7. How much space is available for the valve?
For us, space is very limited. The more compact the valve installation, the better. In the case of a 1:1 replacement for existing valves, identical design is important. In our example, this means two further valves are no longer in the race.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve/ ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


8. What is the free passage required?

This is linked with pigging and with whether solids have to pass through the valve. This is not the case in our example.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve/ ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


9. Are there any hygienic requirements to be met by the valve?

This is particularly important for drinking water installations and in the foodstuffs industry. Our example has not got any such requirements.
Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve/ ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


10. The price/performance ratio
Projects are governed by budget planning and the investors' desired security. What counts is: as cost-efficient as possible while meeting the requirements. Availability and interchangeability are further key criteria. A ball valve in DN 32 or DN 50 would be cheaper than a butterfly valve that has to be flanged into the piping. However, this option is not suitable for the flow rate of 200 m3/h (DN 150) in our cooling circuit example. We require a valve meeting DN 150. This eliminates the last option in the selection.

Suitable valves:

Gate valve / globe valve / ball valve / butterfly valve / diaphragm valve


CONCLUSION:

The systematic approach has led us to the right valve for our project: a butterfly valve.

Tabelle

What are the benefits of each valve type? 

Looking for the right valve? KSB is here to help

Every year, KSB manufactures almost a million industrial valves. Industrial valves from KSB are used in power stations, buildings, on ships and in process and water engineering systems. Alongside globe valves, gate valves, butterfly valves, ball valves, diaphragm valves and control valves, the industrial valve product range also includes actuators and positioners. Contact us – We’ll be pleased to assist you.


Used products

STAAL 100 AKD/AKDS

STAAL 100 AKD/AKDS

Gate valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends (AKD) or butt weld ends (AKDS), with bolted bonnet, body of forged or welded construction, non-rotating stem, split wedge with flexibly mounted discs for precise alignment with the body seats. Seat/disc interface made of wear and corrosion resistant 17 % chrome steel or Stellite.

STAAL 100 AKK/AKKS

STAAL 100 AKK/AKKS

Swing check valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends (AKK) or butt weld ends (AKKS), with bolted cover, internally mounted hinge pin, body of forged or welded construction, seat/disc interface made of wear and corrosion resistant 17 % chrome steel or Stellite.

STAAL 40 AKD/AKDS

STAAL 40 AKD/AKDS

Gate valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends (AKD) or butt weld ends (AKDS), with bolted bonnet, body of forged or welded construction, non-rotating stem, split wedge with flexibly mounted discs for precise alignment with the body seats. Seat/disc interface made of wear and corrosion resistant 17 % chrome steel.

STAAL 40 AKK/AKKS

STAAL 40 AKK/AKKS

Swing check valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends (AKK) or butt weld ends (AKKS), with bolted cover, internally mounted hinge pin, body of welded construction, seat/disc interface made of wear and corrosion resistant 17 % chrome steel.

BOA-Control/ BOA‑Control IMS

BOA-Control/ BOA‑Control IMS

Balancing valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends, bonnetless, with throttling plug, scaled position indicator, travel stop and insulating cap with anti-condensation feature, maintenance-free; full insulation possible; suitable for measuring flow rate with ultrasonic sensors and for temperature measurement, sensors not in contact with fluid handled, mobile measurements in combination with BOATRONIC MS measuring computer, permanent measurement set-up with BOATRONIC MS-420 measuring computer, constant accuracy independent of differential pressures. Also available with electrostatic plastic coating and DVGW-certified for drinking water (BOA-Control EKB and BOA-Control IMS EKB; up to DN 200).

ECOLINE BLT 150-300

ECOLINE BLT 150-300

Ball valve to ANSI/ASME with flanged ends, two-piece body, full bore, floating ball, plastomer sealing (also in fire-safe design).

BOAX-S/SF

BOAX-S/SF

Centred-disc butterfly valve, with heat barrier and elastomer liner (EPDM XU or Nitrile K), with lever, manual gearbox or electric actuator (BOAXMAT-S and BOAXMAT-SF); semi-lug body (T2) or full-lug body (T4) for downstream dismantling and dead-end service. Valve disc made of stainless steel 1.4308, connections to EN.

SISTO-16TWA

SISTO-16TWA

Diaphragm valve to DIN/EN with flanged ends, straight-way pattern, for drinking water installations to DIN 1988, DIN-DVGW-approved for water acc. to test W 270, in compliance with the latest elastomers guideline of the German Environment Agency; shut-off and sealing to atmosphere by confined and supported SISTOMaXX diaphragm; position indicator with integrated stem protection. All moving parts are separated from the fluid by the diaphragm. Maintenance-free.

SERIE 2000

SERIE 2000

Dual-plate check valve with single-piece, wafer-type body made of lamellar graphite cast iron, nodular cast iron, steel or stainless steel; metal/elastomer-seated or metal/metal-seated, maintenance-free, connections to EN, ASME or JIS.

BOA-S

BOA-S

Strainer to DIN/EN with flanged ends, with standard or fine screen; all nominal sizes with drain plug in the cover. Made of grey cast iron or nodular cast iron.

Stay up to date with the KSB Newsletter.

Want to make sure you never miss the latest news? With the KSB Newsletter you will receive information on our products and solutions, current promotions and events as well as fascinating insights into the world of KSB.

Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Would you like further information on KSB? Or have you got any questions surrounding our pumps, valves, services and spare parts? Just contact us. We would love to talk to you.