June 2001

Valves/Reliability

Control valves for critical applications

Know the causes of cavitation and flashing and how to prevent them

Kiesbauer, J., Samson AG

In refineries, the process media flowing through valves are primarily liquids. With liquids, critical operating conditions caused by cavitation or flashing may occur. Symptoms are, for instance, increased noise emission, valve and pipe component erosion or low-frequency mechanical vibration in the valve and the connected pipeline. Under these conditions, in particular, neglecting details can result in negative influences on plant performance and costs of ownership. Unfortunately, common practice today is to select control valves in a "quick and dirty" fashion, because the phases of planning, bidding and order processing are connected with significant pressures of cost and time.

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