The Different Kinds of Ball Valves: Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel, Cast Iron, and Brass
The ball valve is one of the most classic valves available. Ball valves consist of a sphere with a hole drilled in the center of the ball. These valves operate on a 90-degree or quarter-turn ratio. By moving the ball around the axis, the flow of the liquids or gas in the system is stopped or started. Ball valves are almost always shut-off valves. In limited cases, however, ball valves can be used to control the intensity of the flow.
Four Types of Ball Valves
While they operate on a standard principle, ball valves come in four standard forms.
Standard port ball valves are, as named, normally sized ball valves. They’re a size smaller than the pipe which results in a slight restriction in the flow of the fluid. This is the standard style that you’ll find in most systems.
By contrast, full port ball valves, which have oversized balls which fill the entire port with a hole equal in size to the pipeline. This allows for lowered friction loss and unrestricted flow but requires a larger and more expensive valve with a greater weight.
V port ball valves have either a v-shaped seat or a v-shaped ball. This allows for a stable flow with greater control in the system. The valves require a much sturdier design to handle the intensity of the flow.
Unlike the other designs which have free floating balls, trunnion ball valves have an anchor either at the top or at the bottom. These are designed for use in high pressure systems.
In addition to the four major types, there are four major materials used in ball valves: stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and brass ball valves. Each has its own advantages and uses. What follows is a guide to the various materials.
Brass Ball Valves
One of the most common types of ball valves is the brass ball valve, which is a standard material used throughout a variety of equipment. A key benefit of opting for brass valves is that they’re softer, and easier to work with in contrast to a harder material like stainless steel. Brass valves hold up strongly in the transport of potable water as long as it lacks corrosive properties and gas. They also clean simply. Unfortunately, brass ball valves have the disadvantage of eroding much easier. Brass is also more expensive than the cheapest options on the market though not as expensive as others.
Carbon Steel Ball Valves
Though they lack the trademark chrome sheen of stainless steel ball valves, carbon steel ball valves still serve as a solid option. Carbon steel is considered of lesser quality, but it’s only slightly lower in quality than stainless steel. The valves offer lesser resistance to chemicals and a lower melting point. However, they have the distinct advantage of greater malleability, allowing for an easier installation and a wider range of uses. The carbon steel also offers a much stronger heat allocation than stainless steel. For these reasons, carbon steel is a highly efficient, robust option.
Cast Iron Ball Valves
Lower in cost but high in quality, cast iron ball valves offer a fantastic option for a number of reasons. Cast iron is one of the strongest metals in the face of intense heat, withstanding temperatures beyond 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. Iron is intensely sturdy and holds up to the strongest of vibrations. It also carries a relatively low cost. One drawback, however, is that cast iron is rigid and unmalleable. Even the slightest break will fracture the valve. Still, the heat resistance and the low cost make it a worthy choice.
Stainless Steel Ball Valves
Arguably the most popular form of ball valve on the market, stainless steel ball valves are one of the strongest options available. Stainless steel carries a number of strong advantages. Stainless steel—known for its vibrant chrome sheen—does not rust even when exposed to high moisture or even directly placed in water. Stainless steel ball valves resist oxidation and offer strong corrosion resistance. For this reason, stainless steel is a popular choice for saltwater regions. Stainless steel is heat resistant, but still won’t hold up to extreme heat. Stainless steel also has the limitation of a higher cost. However, it’s easy to see why stainless steel ball valves are considered the highest quality on the market.
What We Offer
At Valtorc, we’re pleased to offer one of the strongest assortments of ball valves on the market/. In addition to these four quality materials, we offer PVC ball valves, a sturdy and inexpensive choice. We also have special purpose ball valves such as cryogenic and floating high pressure ball valves. We also sell sanitary stainless steel ball valves designed for food and beverage usage.
We offer our valves in a variety of configurations too. Generally, we offer 2-way and 3-way or multiport options but for stainless steel ball valves the options go up to 4-way ports. Our sizes on our ball valves include 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″, 6″, and 10″, going up to 12″ and beyond for custom work. Our products have a variety of connection ends including butt weld, socket weld, and threaded. Our valves come both manually operated and as actuated packages.
All our ball valves are compliant with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Our valves all ship from our factory located in the United States.
If it’s a high quality valve you seek, we are here to help. Established in 1980, Valtrorc is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of valves in an array of styles and materials. We are proud to be the supplier you need. If you need any further information, reach out to us today!