Piston Check Valves

7 Jun

A piston check valve, illustrated in Figure 25, is essentially a lift check valve. It has a dashpot consisting of a piston and cylinder that provides a cushioning effect during operation. Because of the similarity in design to lift check valves, the flow characteristics through a piston check valve are essentially the same as through a lift check valve.

Installation is the same as for a lift check in that the flow must enter from under the seat.  Construction of  the seat  and disk  of  a piston check valve is the same as for lift check valves.

Piston check valves are used primarily in conjunction with globe and angle valves in piping systems experiencing very frequent changes in flow direction.  Valves of this type are used on water, steam, and air systems.

Butterfly Check Valves

Butterfly check valves have a seating arrangement similar to the seating arrangement of butterfly valves. Flow characteristics through these check valves are similar to the flow characteristics through butterfly valves. Consequently, butterfly check valves are quite frequently used in systems using butterfly valves. In addition, the construction of the butterfly check valve body is such that ample space is provided for unobstructed movement of the butterfly valve disk within the check valve body without the necessity of installing spacers.

The butterfly check valve design is based on a flexible sealing member against the bore of the valve body at an angle of 45o. The short distance the disk must move from full open to full closed inhibits the “slamming” action found in some other types of check valves. Figure 26 illustrates the internal assembly of the butterfly check valve.


Because the flow characteristics are similar to the flow characteristics of butterfly valves, applications of these valves are much the same. Also, because of their relatively quiet operation they find application in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Simplicity of design also permits their construction in large diameters – up to 72 inches. As with butterfly valves, the basic body design lends itself to the installation of seat liners constructed of many materials. This permits the construction of a corrosion-resistant valve at less expense than would be encountered if it were necessary to construct the entire body of the higher alloy or more expensive metal. This is particularly true in constructions such as those of titanium. Flexible sealing members are available in Buna-N, Neoprene, Nordel, Hypalon, Viton, Tyon, Urethane, Butyl, Silicone, and TFE as standard, with other materials available on special order. The valve body essentially is a length of pipe that is fitted with flanges or has threaded, grooved, or plain ends. The interior is bored to a fine finish. The flanged end units can have liners of various metals or plastics installed depending upon the service requirements. Internals and fasteners are always of the same material as the liner.

Butterfly check valves may be ins talled horizontally or vertically with the vertical flow either upward or downward. Care should be taken to ensure that the valve is installed so that the entering flow comes from the hinge post end of the valve; otherwise, all flow will be stopped.

Stop Check Valves

A stop check valve, illustrated in Figure 27, is a combination of a lift check valve and a globe valve. It has a stem which, when closed, prevents the disk from coming off the seat and provides a tight seal (similar to a globe valve). When the stem is operated to the open position, the valve operates as a lift check. The stem is not connected to the disk and functions to close the valve tightly or to limit the travel of the valve disk in the open direction.

Relief and Safety Valves

Relief and safety valves prevent equipment damage by relieving accidental over-pressurization of fluid systems.  The main difference between a relief valve and a safety valve is the extent of opening at the setpoint pressure.

A relief valve, illustrated in Figure 28, gradually opens as the inlet pressure increases above the setpoint.  A relief valve opens only as necessary to relieve the over-pressure condition.  A safety valve, illustrated in Figure 29, rapidly pops fully open as soon as the pressure setting is reached. A safety valve will stay fully open until the pressure drops below a reset pressure.  The reset pressure is lower than the actuating pressure setpoint.   The difference between the actuating pressure  setpoint  and  the  pressure  at  which  the  safety  valve  resets  is  called  blowdown. Blowdown is expressed as a percentage of the actuating pressure setpoint.

Relief valves are typically used for incompressible fluids such as water or oil.  Safety valves are typically used for compressible fluids such as steam or other gases.  Safety valves can often be distinguished by the presence of an external lever at the top of the valve body, which is used as an operational check.

As indicated in Figure 29, system pressure provides a force that is attempting to push the disk of the safety valve off its seat. Spring pressure on the stem is forcing the disk onto the seat. At the pressure determined by spring compression, system pressure overcomes spring pressure and the relief valve opens. As  system pressure is  relieved, the valve closes  when spring pressure again overcomes system pressure.  Most relief and safety valves open against the force of a compression spring.  The pressure setpoint is adjusted by turning the adjusting nuts on top of the yoke to increase or decrease the spring compression.

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