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Ball Valves versus Gate Valves

eljko T.senior instrument engineer at INA - Industrija nafte

As it's wellknown the ball valves and and the gate valves are mostly
used at ON/OFF applications. I'll appreciate any suggestion about the
application area for each type. On the other words, what application
does prefer ball valve and what application does prefer gate valve?
eljko Trputac,
Senior Instrument Engineer
Comment (7)
3 days ago

Scott M.
Program Manager - Sensors and Customer Service at Photon Control R&D Ltd.
Some good points here:

Ron W.
Controls Engineer at Scott Safety / Aerotek
One thing not mentioned in the article Scott references is cost. Ball valves in sizes 4"
(100mm) and higher can be quite a bit more expensive than gate valves.
Every now & then, the fact that a ball valve can trap material in the valve when it is shut off
can cause a problem with the process, or with extended exposure of the valve to the process
fluid, or cross-contamination in multiple fluid processes.
One big advantage to ball valves is the ability for a single valve to mix or select from two
streams (3 way or 4 way), so you don't have to worry about interlocking two separate
valves, and dead pipe where process material can remain behind.
Valve shutoff specifications are also differentiators between the two types, as well as the
ability to handle clean fluids or slurries.
So much of your selection criteria will depend heavily on your process fluid.

It is a good point about the inherent operation speed of gate vs. ball valves. For larger
valves, where water hammer can be a significant problem, you would have actuators on
both types of valves, where the closing speed for either type of valve would be similar. The
application of speed valves on pneumatic actuators is almost always required for both ball
valves and gate valves.

Ali S.
Process Control Specialist at BBA-Top control
You need gate valves for slurry.

Greg C.
Ford project F150
Each has its place.
Analog flow control is not easy with ball valves.
Ball valves close quickly and seal well.
The trapped material in a ball valve nearly killed 3 people at a chemical plant I worked at.
H2S was trapped in the closed ball valve. They opened the valve without respirators because
they had been told the line was flushed.......................bad idea.

Pratik T.
Sr.Engineer - Sales at Honeywell Automation
Good info

Raj K.
Principal at Consultant dba RPK LLC previously Sr. Associate Syska
Hennessy,Principal/ Head of Mech. Dept.EYP Mission C

It depends on application, frequency of operation, fluid (slurry?) being handled. Good idea is
first to find compatibility of material and standards like for potable water or Chlorine (NSF 60
or 61), then size the valve and then discuss the operation with valves manufacturer. For
controls fast acting valves are always preferred, whereas for maintenance and or isolation
gate valves are used. Preventive Maintenance program should have periodic activation of
valves to ensure that they do not fail when needed. Sometime replacement of valve prior to
failure is also a good idea.

Ali S.
Process Control Specialist at BBA-Top control
@Greg: I had a very different experience in respect of flow control with ball valves. You can
have very good flow control with ball valves if they have been sized correctly.

Ball valve or gate valve?


One problem that plumbers deal with on a regular basis is the replacement of old shutoff valves. W
shutoff valve, you are faced with a choice: ball valve or gate valve?

Since water inherently wreaks havoc on every aspect of your plumbing system, having the proper va

problems down the road. I use the term "delay" instead of "prevent", simply because when it come

ALWAYS arise, it's just a matter of how soon. The gate valve has been around longer, and is slow
design of the ball valve makes it vastly superior to the gate valve, and is proven to last longer and

valve utilizes a sphere with a hole in it to control flow. When the handle is turned parallel with the va

When the handle is turned a 1/4 turn, the sphere is also turned and the hole is now perpendicu

stopped. Ball valves can almost always be operated after years of disuse and do not typically "freez
utilizes an internal gate that moves up and down on the stem. The stem is connected to the handle

down, opening and closing the gate. The gate valve has a few disadvantages. The biggest problem
time, the stem which controls the gate may, and usually will break. This means the gate is stuck

either be stuck on or stuck off. Another problem is that gate valves are notorious for seizing shut aft

If they are able to be freed up, they will usually start to leak. One thing you should keep in mind th

that actually still require the use of gate valves before and after the water meter. The reason being t

shut off very fast with just a quarter turn, whereas a gate valve is not. In the VERY unlikely event th

a house, and the ball valve is shut off quickly, it will cause a water hammer condition, and MAY cause











Another thing to keep in mind is that like all things, there are different grades of each type of valve. U

typically only sell on price, and not quality. We have seen a great deal of defects and leaks wit

A reputable plumber will always supply you with a better valve, and will also be able to install t
request. It is advised that if you are in an area requiring a gate valve, a good quality gate valve is a

It always seems a little backwards to me that most people will put much more money into the labe





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