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Butterfly Check Valve

May 28, 2022

What is a butterfly check valve? 

A butterfly check valve is a type of valve that is used to prevent reverse fluid flow in different applications. These valves employ a seating arrangement similar to that used in butterfly valves. Butterfly check valve flow characteristics are similar to the flow characteristics in butterfly valves. As such, these valves are often used in piping systems that use butterfly valves. Butterfly check valves operate automatically through the principle of pressure difference. This is the principle in which the valve disc opens when the suction pressure is more than the outlet pressure. The valve closes when the suction pressure reduces or when there is backflow or when the pump stops. The closing of a butterfly check valve helps to prevent the fluid from flowing in the reverse direction. Fluid flow in the reverse direction can contaminate the fluid especially in water supply and in food applications. Also, reverse fluid flow can cause damage to piping equipment like pumps and boilers. Butterfly check valve manufacturers produce different types of these valves for use in various industrial applications ranging from corrosive to non-corrosive, low to high pressure, and temperature. The material used by the butterfly check valve manufacturer to construct the valve dictates the area of application. 

Butterfly check valve

Figure: Butterfly check valve.

 

Construction and components of a butterfly check valve 

Butterfly check valve manufacturers construct these valves with sufficient space to allow free movement of the valve disc. The valve disc consists of two plates that tilt about a hinge. This valve does not need valve spaces. The design of a butterfly check valve uses a flexible sealing member with the valve bore oriented at around 45o degrees. Such design helps to shorten the distance the disc moves from fully open to fully close which helps to reduce the slamming effect frequent in other check valves. These valves are simple in design which allows butterfly check valve manufacturers to produce them in large sizes up to around 72 inches. Some of the most common components of butterfly check valves include the following. 

Valve body 

This is the part of a butterfly check valve used to house internal components. The valve body is made very strong against impact damage and high pressure. Such high strength is enhanced by the use of strong metallic materials such as cast iron, ductile iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel among others. The valve body also contains the valve ports that connect the valve to the pipe.

Valve disc 

This is the part of a butterfly check valve used to open fluid flow and also used to prevent reverse fluid flow. The valve disc works with help of a spring. 

Spring 

This is the component of the butterfly check valve which helps the valve disc to flap allowing fluid flow. The spring maintains its stretched position due to suction pressure until when the pressure reduces where it reverts back allowing the disc back to its seating position. 

Seat 

This is the part of a butterfly check valve placed between the valve body and the valve disc to prevent fluid leakage as well as provide the surface where the valve disc seats.

Gasket 

This is the part placed between the mating faces of the valve and the pipe to enhance a tight seal free from fluid leakage. 

Parts of a butterfly check valve

Figure: Parts of a butterfly check valve.

 

How does a butterfly check valve work? 

A butterfly check valve operates based on pressure differential. This is the case where the valve employs suction pressure to open and close automatically. Butterfly check valve manufacturers design these valves without actuators or handwheel. These valves open the valve disc when the suction pressure is more than the outlet fluid pressure. The suction pressure provides the energy to force the spring and disc to flap. As such, the disc creates space for the fluid to flow through the valve. The valve disc remains open and fluid flows through the butterfly check valve until a time when the pump is stopped or when there is backflow. In such an instance, the valve spring gets relieved to stretch back allowing the disc to return to its seating position. 

Working of a butterfly check valve

Figure: Working of a butterfly check valve.

 

Types of butterfly check valves

Butterfly check valves with counterweights 

As the name suggests, this is a butterfly check valve designed with a counterweight mechanism. This type of butterfly check valve enhances reliability in regulating the time needed to close the valve. This mechanism has a lever that facilitates an anti-hammer system and an oil cylinder slows down the closing movement reducing slam and noise. Butterfly check valve manufacturers use this damping system to prevent water hammer effects via reduced damping time. Butterfly check valves with counterweights open in the forward direction and close when there is backflow or suction pressure drop. 

Butterfly check valve with counter weight

Figure: Butterfly check valve with counter weight.

Flanged end butterfly check valve 

This is a butterfly check valve that is designed with flanges at the ports. The flanges have holes. The holes are used to hold bolts that connect the valve to the pipe. Also, the pipe is produced with flanged ends of the same size and holes as the butterfly check valve. Flanged end butterfly check valve manufacturers produce these valves for use in high-pressure applications since these valves can withstand high pressure due to their tight connection. The tight connection is enhanced by the use of several bolts and nuts and a gasket placed between the mating surfaces of the valve and pipe. Depending on the material used to make internal parts this valve be used in both low and high temperatures. Flanged end butterfly check valves are easy to install and disconnect from the pipe. However, these valves are heavy relative to the welded and threaded end types. The high weight arises from the use of the bolts and nuts as well as the flanged ends. 

Flanged end butterfly check valve

Figure: Flanged end butterfly check valve.

Threaded end butterfly check valve 

This is a butterfly check valve that is connected to the pipe using threads. This type of valve comes from the butterfly check valve manufacturer with the threads having been machined. The threads are either male or female. If the butterfly check valve manufacturer produced the valve with male threads the pipe end needs to have female threads and vice versa. Threaded end butterfly check valves are used in low and medium-pressure applications. However, depending on the material used to make the valve, it can be used from low to high temperatures. This type of valve occupies less space and is light in weight relative to bolted type. 

Welded end butterfly check valve 

This is a butterfly check valve that is connected to the pipe using the welding method. Both the valve end and the pipe are welded together. This ensures that there is no possibility of fluid leakage through the valve-pipe connection joint. Butterfly check valve manufacturers recommend the use of this valve where frequent repair and inspection are not required. Also, such valves are used where hazardous media is transported such as oil, gas, and acids in which any slight leakage can cause huge losses. This type of valve is suitable for use in high-pressure applications since high pressure will not cause fluid leakage. However, welded end butterfly check valves cannot be repaired while in the piping system. When the valve develops a mechanical problem the weld has to be removed first. Such valves are also not meant for use in sanitary applications such as foods and pharmaceuticals because the valve has to be cleaned frequently. 

 

Applications of butterfly check valves 

  • Butterfly check valves are used in the freshwater supply. 
  • They are used in wastewater treatment applications. 
  • Butterfly check valves are used in mining applications. 
  • They are used in petrochemical industries. 
  • These valves are used in the foods and beverages processing. 
  • Butterfly check valves are used in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. 
  • They are used in boiler applications to prevent feedwater or steam from flowing backward. 
  • Butterfly check valves are used in oil and gas applications. 

 

Advantages of butterfly check valves 

  • Butterfly check valves operate automatically without using a valve actuator or handwheel. 
  • These valves are durable since they can be used for a long period without being replaced. Also, these valves can be repaired which enhances service life. 
  • Butterfly check valves are efficient since they have low-pressure drop unlike other valves like globe valves. 
  • These valves are free from fluid leakage. 
  • They do not allow reverse fluid flow. 
  • Butterfly check valves can maintain working pressure. 
  • These valves use spring to close fluid flow and thus they can be installed in vertical, oblique, or horizontal orientation. 
  • Butterfly check valves can prevent water hammer effects. 
  • These valves are free from fluid leakage. 
  • They have a short travel distance to open and close thus making them fast in operation. 
  • These valves can be used in both low and high pressure and temperature applications. 

 

Disadvantages of butterfly check valves 

  • Butterfly check valves cannot be inspected while in operation. 
  • Fluid flow in these valves can take place in one direction only.

 

Troubleshooting butterfly check valves 

No fluid flows through the valve 

  • The valve was installed in the opposite direction. Install the valve again according to the flow direction shown on the valve body or on the user manual.
  • Low suction pressure. Increase the suction pressure to the level recommended by the butterfly check valve manufacturer. 
  • Blockage in the pipe connected to the butterfly valve. Check the pipe for materials causing blockage and remove them. 
  • The downstream valve is still closed. Open downstream valve to allow pressure difference. 

The butterfly check valve does not close 

  • The valve disc has been stuck open by foreign materials. Open the valve and check the disc or spring for any material causing the disc to remain open. Remove any foreign material. 

Internal fluid leakage 

  • Worn out O-rings. Replace the O-rings. 
  • Damaged seat. Replace the valve seat. 
  • Debris inside the butterfly check valve. Open the valve according to the butterfly check valve manufacturer’s instructions and clean debris. 

External fluid leakage

  • Worn out or damaged O-rings. Replace the O-rings.
  • Worn out gasket. Replace the gasket. 
  • Loose connection. Tighten the connecting elements that are threads or bolts to the torque recommended by the butterfly check valve manufacturer. 

 

Summary 

A butterfly check valve is a type of check valve used in various industrial applications to prevent reverse fluid flow. This type of valve has flow characteristics similar to those of butterfly valves and thus it is often used in piping systems together with butterfly valves. This type of valve is manufactured to operate automatically by using pressure difference. The valve opens fluid flow when there is high suction pressure than the outlet pressure. The valve disc is made of two plates that flap allowing fluid flow through the valve. Once the valve is opened, fluid keeps flowing through the valve unless the pump is stopped or there is backflow. Butterfly check valve manufacturers use different types of materials to make these valves. The type of material used to make the valve determines the area of application. Butterfly check valve manufacturers produce various types of valves which include butterfly check valve with counterweights, threaded end butterfly check valves, flanged end butterfly check valves, and welded end butterfly check valves. Applications of these valves include oil and gas, chemicals, foods and beverages, wastewater treatment, boiler applications, and pharmaceuticals among others. Using a butterfly check valve is advantageous in a number of ways such as automatic operation, high efficiency, versatility, durability, free from fluid leakage, maintaining working pressure, and fast operation.

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