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What is a Floating Ball Valve?

Floating Ball Valve

A floating ball valve is a construction that uses a ball to shut the cross-section of a pipe and prohibit fluid passage. The major feature of a floating ball valve is that it has no framework to support it. Therefore, it floats in the fluid and is held in place by valve seats.

Floating Ball Valve Standards

  • Design standard: API 608 /API6D
  • Test standard: API 598/API6D
  • Fire Standard: API 607
  • Wall thickness standard: ASME B16.34

Floating Ball Valve Classification

One-piece floating ball valve

One-piece ball valves and flange gate valves are both types of valves, with the closing member being the primary distinction. The one-piece ball valve, obviously, employs a sphere that revolves around the body’s center line, whereas the flange gate valve opens a form of gate by raising the blocking structure when the handle is rotated. The ball valve is primarily used in pipelines to cut off, distribute, and modify the medium’s flow direction. It is a novel form of valve that has become popular in recent years. It is also known as an integrated ball valve.

Two-piece floating ball valve

The name “two-piece floating ball valve” comes from the fact that it is made up of two sections called the left and right bodies, which are attached to each other via threads and bolts or by welding. This type of valve is appropriate for a variety of working situations, including high temperature and high pressure.

Three-piece floating ball valve

A three-piece floating ball valve is one with a body that is divided into three sections from left to right. Typically, the pieces consist of a body and two bonnets. End caps are typically linked to the pipe via threads and bolts, welding, or flanged, as with two-piece floating ball valves.

Floating Ball Valve Sealing Principle

Because the floating ball valve’s ball is not restricted by any component, when the valve is closed, and the medium is pressed from one end (upstream) of the valve, the ball can produce a certain displacement and press tightly on the sealing surface of the outlet end (downstream), resulting in an outlet seal.

Advantages of Floating Ball Valve

  • The fluid resistance is low, and the resistance coefficient is equal to that of the same-length pipe section.
  • It has a straightforward design, a tiny footprint, and a lightweight.
  • It is secure and dependable. Plastic, which has strong sealing performance and has been widely employed in vacuum systems, is currently the most widely used sealing surface material of a ball valve.
  • It is simple to use and has a rapid shutter speed. To simplify remote control, the rotation from completely open to fully-closed can be as long as 90 degrees.
Floating Ball Valve

Disadvantages of Floating Ball Valve

  • The sphere’s sealing surface is readily destroyed and therefore is not ideal for applications where the medium contains particles.
  • Soft-sealed valves are unsuitable for high-temperature and high-pressure applications.
  • To establish the protection barrier, hard-sealed valves require strong sealing forces and torque.

Applications of Floating Ball Valve

Floating ball valves are widely used in various industries for controlling the flow of fluids. The design of a floating ball valve includes a ball that is not fixed in place, allowing it to float within the valve. Here are some specific applications of floating ball valves:

Oil and Gas Industry: Floating ball valves are commonly used in the oil and gas industry to control the flow of crude oil, natural gas, and other fluids in pipelines and processing facilities.

Chemical Industry: These valves are suitable for handling various corrosive chemicals due to the availability of materials that resist corrosion.

Water Distribution: Floating ball valves are used in water distribution systems to regulate water flow in pipelines and water treatment plants.

Wastewater Treatment: They are employed in wastewater treatment plants to control sewage and other liquids flow.

Power Plants: Floating ball valves play a crucial role in power plants, regulating the flow of steam, water, and other fluids in different stages of the power generation process.

Refineries: Floating ball valves are utilized in refineries to manage the flow of various hydrocarbons and chemicals during the refining process.

Chemical Processing: They are employed in chemical processing plants to control the movement of different chemicals through pipelines.

Mineral Slurries: Floating ball valves can handle abrasive and corrosive slurries commonly found in the mining and minerals processing industry.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC): These valves are used in HVAC systems to control water flow or other fluids to regulate temperature.

Food Processing: In the food and beverage industry, floating ball valves control the flow of liquids, including ingredients and cleaning solutions.

Shipbuilding: Floating ball valves are used in marine applications for controlling the flow of fluids on ships, including seawater, fuel, and other liquids.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: In pharmaceutical processes, these valves may be used to precisely control the flow of liquids and gases.

Irrigation Systems: Floating ball valves find application in irrigation systems, regulating water flow to different field sections.

Floating ball valves are chosen for their versatility, reliability, and ability to handle various fluids and operating conditions. The specific materials used in their construction can be selected based on the nature of the fluid being controlled, making them suitable for diverse industrial applications.

Floating Ball Valve

Floating Ball Valve Selection Guide

  • The main pipeline for the transportation of oil and natural gas must be clean and buried beneath. For subterranean pipelines, full-diameter welded or flanged ball valves are preferred. For branch pipes, flange or welded connections with a full-diameter or reduced-diameter ball valve are preferred.
  • Flanged ball valves are suitable for pipeline and storage equipment of oil products.
  • For city gas and natural gas pipelines, the choice suggested is floating ball valves with flange connections and female connections.
  • The metallurgical oxygen pipe system should employ oxygen valves that have been extensively de-aliphaticized.
  • When working with fluids at extremely low temperatures, it is best to use a low-temperature ball valve with a valve cover.
  • A lifting rod ball valve can be employed in the pipeline system of the oil refining unit’s catalytic cracking unit.
  • In the chemical industry, stainless-steel ball valves composed of austenitic stainless steel with polytetrafluoroethylene as the seat ring are appropriate in the equipment and piping systems of corrosive media such as acids and alkalis.
  • Metal-to-metal sealed ball valves can be used on piping systems or devices that work at high temperatures in metallurgical systems, power systems, petrochemical plants, and urban heating systems.
  • When flow adjustment is required, worm gear drive, pneumatic or electric adjustment ball valve with a V-shaped opening can be selected.

Final Thoughts

Floating ball valve stands as a cornerstone in the symphony of fluid control technologies. Through its ingenious design and adaptability, it has proven indispensable across a spectrum of industries, from oil and gas to pharmaceuticals. As we’ve explored its applications and significance, it’s evident that the floating ball valve’s role goes beyond mere regulation; it’s a linchpin in the seamless functioning of complex industrial processes. Its resilience, precision, and versatility make it a steadfast companion in navigating the challenges posed by diverse fluids. Looking ahead, the floating ball valve’s continued evolution promises to further enhance its capabilities, ensuring it remains an essential player in the ongoing advancement of fluid control systems across the industrial landscape.

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