Experienced engineers know how important it is to plan ahead when designing a hydraulic or pneumatic circuit. Careful planning is especially critical when faced with the challenges of selecting high-pressure water valves. After analyzing your application’s design parameters, you should consider the following challenges involved in using water as the flow media:
Challenge 1: Contamination and Premature Wear
If you’re using water as the flow media for your high-pressure hydraulic system, you probably already know that the cleanliness of the water is important. Of course, this is not really an issue for closed-loop systems since they are filtered to a specified level and closed to the atmosphere which prevents external contamination. But if you’re working with an open-ended system, contaminants such as scale particles from a descaling operation may enter your system.
Why is water contamination so risky? Because small particles traveling at high speeds through an industrial valve will eventually erode and prematurely wear valve components that come in contact with that water. While this may be unavoidable, you can select valve component materials that are designed to protect against premature wear.
Challenge 2: Water Hammer
Water hammer is a potentially destructive pressure wave that’s created by an instantaneous change in fluid velocity when a hydraulic valve is suddenly opened or closed. If you don’t plan for it, water hammer can destroy hydraulic circuit components due to pipes bursting, pipe supports being pulled from their anchor points or valves exploding.
To reduce the effects of water hammer, flow velocity within the piping and valve shift speed should be optimized for low-viscosity media such as water. For added peace of mind, you may want to purchase specially engineered valves that are designed to limit water hammer.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until after installation to address these high-pressure hydraulic challenges. Dealing with these challenges during the initial design phase will help you choose an industrial valve that maximizes the safety and reliability of your hydraulic or pneumatic system.
To learn more about industrial valve selection for high-pressure water applications, download “How to Select the Right Valve for High-Pressure Water Applications“.