Plug Valves: Their Design, Functionality, and Common Types

When one is working with systems that involve the use of hydraulics, pneumatics, or the general movement of fluids, it is often essential that proper valves are in place to effectively control flow. Depending on the application in question, there are a wide variety of valves that one may take advantage of, each presenting a different design and varying capabilities. For example, hydraulic systems always feature what are known as plug valves, those of which ensure smooth and efficient operations with their on-off, diverting, and throttling capabilities. To help you better understand the role of plug valves and whether or not they may be a good choice for your needs, we will discuss such assembly components in brief detail.

In general, plug valves are notable for their cylindrical or conically tapered plug elements that are able to be turned within the body of the valve for the means of managing fluid flow. To permit fluids to move through the valve, each plug will have one or more hollow spaces that extend sideways across the element when the valve is in an open position. To open a plug valve, one typically only needs to conduct a quarter-turn motion so that the pipe and hole are aligned for fluid flow. Meanwhile, turning the opening at a 90 degree angle from the pipe it is connected to will keep the valve in its closed state.

There are a variety of plug valve subtypes on the market, those of which include lubricated, non-lubricated, expandable, and eccentric plug valves. With a lubricated plug valve, dirty upstream applications are provided the benefit of clog-resistance as the lubrication deters the negative effects of abrasive and corrosive materials flowing through the system. As non-lubricated valves lack this feature, they are most commonly found in low-maintenance applications.

With expandable plug valves, a more advanced rotating motion and additional elements will be present to ensure wear and abrasion resistance for seals over time. Typically, expandable plug valves find use in areas where product contamination is a concern or when there is no need for double isolation. As the last common subtype, eccentric plug valves are best fit for assemblies where there must be minimal friction when moving between open and closed positions or a high seating force. Excelling in isolation or flow control systems, these plug valves are found in sewage, sludge, and air systems alike.

Beyond common subtypes, plug valves may also be procured in two-way or three-way variations. With a two-way plug, a closure element is situated in the middle of the valve, and two service connections are provided for the inlet and outlet of a piping system. With three-way plug valves, an additional port is provided at a right angle from the other two, allowing for flow to be diverted or combined.

If you happen to be in the market for top-quality plug valve components and other fluid management products, we have you covered here on Just NSN Parts with our unrivaled inventory. Across our database, we list over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts that cater to a diverse set of industry verticals, all of which are ready for purchase at any time. As such, please peruse our offerings at your leisure, and be sure to take advantage of our online RFQ services for the means of requesting quotes for your comparisons on items of interest. Once we receive and review a completed request form, a member of our staff will personally reach out to you in 15 minutes or less to present a quote that has been tailored to your unique needs and restrictions. You may also give us a call or email at any time, and we would be more than happy to assist you however we can as your strategic sourcing partner!


December 20, 2022
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