AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Are Needle Valves?

Valves are devices that are common to various systems involving the storage, transportation, or use of fluids, capable of controlling the flow rate of gasses or liquids. Whether one is using valves for pharmaceutical applications, food and beverage production, or countless other such operations, there are a number of valve types that one may choose from. One common option is the needle valve, which can manage the flow rate of clean fluids while offering low flow rates and significant pressure drops between the inlet and outlet. In this blog, we will discuss the needle valve in brief detail, allowing you to have a better understanding of its design, use, and functionality.

For the design of a needle valve, such devices will have a plunger with a tapered end that raises and lowers in accordance with the spin of a handle. Through these adjustments, the plunger can open and close the orifice that controls the flow of fluids through the valve. The plunger is connected to the adjustable handle through a stem, and threading helps guide the assembly up and down to make things easy. To prevent the plunger from being fully removed from the assembly, a locking nut will be implemented. In order to block the flow of fluids, the plunger can be screwed downward until its tapered end comes into contact with the valve seat, causing the orifice to be completely sealed. For the most optimal sealing and flow rate control, the valve seat may also be tapered.

Depending on the particular needs of an application, needle valves may vary in terms of their exact design. For instance, one can find needle valves of all sizes, and there may even be variations in port connections to accommodate a range of assemblies. For the bonnet that is connected to the valve housing, materials such as brass or stainless steel may be used. Beyond such variations, needle valves also come in two variants that differ based on their method of operations.

With a motorized needle valve, the plunger can be adjusted through the use of an electric or pneumatic actuator that is attached to the assembly. This allows for remote control operation to be established for the benefit of a closed loop system. In other instances, motorized needle valves are connected with a timer so that a handsoff remote control can be established. The other common type is the angle needle valve, those of which the inlet flows at an angle of 90 degrees. While these valves share the same basic operations as traditional needle valves, the 90-degree angle makes them more flexible for varying system integration needs.

When choosing between needle valve options, there are two major factors to consider. The first is the material of construction for the valve housing, and common options include brass, stainless steel, and plastic. Oftentimes, the decision will come down to what resistances may be required for transported fluids or operating environments. The other major consideration is pressure, and needle valves can often handle levels upward of 4,000 to 5,000 psi if robust. Aside from such factors, one should also consider things like port and orifice sizes, and other such qualities that may affect overall performance and reliability.

Here on Alpha NSN, we can help you secure all the different types of aircraft valves you require for your operations with time and cost savings. Take the time to peruse our various part catalogs as you see fit, and request quotes on any items of interest through our online RFQ service. Once our team has received and reviewed your request, they will reach out in 15 minutes or less to present a customized quote for your comparisons. See how we can serve you as your strategic sourcing partner today when you get in touch with a team member!


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