Saturday, December 6, 2008

Types of Control Valves (Part 2)

Shuttle and fast exhaust valves
A shuttle valve, also known as a double check valve, allows pressure in a line to be obtained from alternative sources. It is primarily a pneumatic device and is rarely found in hydraulic circuits.

Construction is very simple and consists of a ball inside a cylinder, as shown in Figure 4.25a. If pressure is applied to port X, the ball is blown to the fight blocking port Y and linking ports X and A.

Similarly, pressure to port Y alone connects ports Y and A and blocks port X. The symbol of a shuttle valve is given in Figure 4.25b.

A typical application is given in Figure 4.25c, where a spring return cylinder is operated from either of two manual stations.

Isolation between the two stations is provided by the shuttle valve. Note a simple T-connection cannot be used as each valve has its A port vented to the exhaust port.

A fast exhaust valve (Figure 4.26) is used to vent cylinders quickly. It is primarily used with spring return (single-acting) pneumatic cylinders. The device shown in Figure 4.26a consists of a movable disc which allows port A to be connected to

pressure port P or large exhaust port R. It acts like, and has the same symbol as, a shuttle valve. A typical application is shown in Figure 4.26b.

Fast exhaust valves are usually mounted local to, or directly onto, cylinders and speed up response by avoiding any delay from return pipes and control valves. They also permit simpler control valves to be used.

Sequence valves
The sequence valve is a close relative of the pressure relief valve and is used where a set of operations are to be controlled in a pressure related sequence. Figure 4.27 shows a typical example where a workpiece is pushed into position by cylinder 1 and clamped by cylinder 2.

Sequence valve V 2 is connected to the extend line of cylinder 1. When this cylinder is moving the workpiece, the line pressure is low, but rises once the workpiece hits the end stop. The sequence valve opens once its inlet pressure rises above a preset level.

Cylinder 2 then operates to clamp the workpiece. A check valve across V 2 allows both cylinders to retract together.

Time delay valves
Pneumatic time delay valves (Figure 4.28) are used to delay operations where time-based sequences are required. Figure 4.28a shows construction of a typical valve. This is similar in construction to a 3/2 way pilot-operated valve, but the space above the main valve is comparatively large and pilot air is only allowed in via a flow reducing needle valve. There is thus a time delay between application of pilot pressure to port Z and the valve operation, as shown by the timing diagram in Figure 4.28b. The time delay is adjusted by the needle valve setting.

The built-in check valve causes the reservoir space above the valve to vent quickly when pressure at Z is removed to give no delay off.

The valve shown in Figure 4.28 is a normally-closed delay-on valve. Many other time delay valves (delay-off, delay on/off, normally- open) can be obtained. All use the basic principle of the air reservoir and needle valve.

The symbol of a normally-dosed time delay valve is shown in Figure 4.28c.

Proportional Valves
The solenoid valves described so far act, to some extent, like an electrical switch, i.e. they can be On or Off. In many applications it is required to remotely control speed, pressure or force via an electrical signal. This function is provided by proportional valves.

A typical two position solenoid is only required to move the spool between 0 and 100% stroke against the restoring force of a spring. To ensure predictable movement between the end positions the solenoid must also increase its force as the spool moves to ensure the solenoid force is larger than the increasing opposing
spring force at all positions.

A proportional valve has a different design requirement. The spool position can be set anywhere between 0% and 100% stroke by varying the solenoid current. To give a predictable response the solenoid must produce a force which is dependent solely on the

current and not on the spool position, i.e. the force for a given current must be constant over the full stroke range. Furthermore, the force must be proportional to the current.

Figure 4.29 shows a typical response. The force from the solenoid is opposed by the force from a restoring spring, and the spool will move to a position where the two forces are equal. With a current of 0.75 A, for example, the spool will move to 75% of its stroke.

The spool movement in a proportional valve is small; a few mm stroke is typical. The valves are therefore very vulnerable to stiction, and this is reduced by using a 'wet' design which immerses the solenoid and its core in hydraulic fluid.

A proportional valve should produce a fluid flow which is proportional to the spool displacement. The spools therefore use four triangular metering notches in the spool lands as shown on Figure 4.30. As the spool is moved to the right, port A will progressively link to the tank and port B to the pressure line.

The symbol for this valve is also shown. Proportional valves are drawn with parallel lines on the connection sides of the valve block on circuit diagrams.

Figure 4.30 gives equal flow rates to both A and B ports.Cylinders have different areas on the full bore and annulus sides

(see Figure 5.4). To achieve equal speeds in both directions, the notches on the lands must have different areas. With a 2:1 cylinder ratio, half the number of notches are used on one side.

Figure 4.31 shows the construction and symbol for a restricted centre position valve. Here the extended notches provide a restricted (typically 3%) flow to tank from the A and B ports when the valve is in the centre position.

Read More

Types of Control Valves(Part 1)

Types of control valve
There are essentially three types of control valve; poppet valves, spool valves and rotary valves.

Poppet valves
In a poppet valve, simple discs, cones or balls are used in conjunction with simple valve seats to control flow. Figure 4.9 shows the construction and symbol of a simple 2/2 normally-closed valve, where depression of the pushbutton lifts the ball off its seat and

allows fluid to flow from port P to port A. When the button is released, spring and fluid pressure force the ball up again closing the valve.

Figure 4.10 shows the construction and symbol of a disc seal 3/2 poppet. With the pushbutton released, ports A and R are linked via the hollow pushbutton stem. If the pushbutton is pressed, port R is first sealed, then the valve disc pushed down to open the valve and connect ports P and A. As before, spring and fluid pressure from
port P closes the valve.

The valve construction and symbol shown in Figure 4.11 is a poppet changeover 4/2 valve using two stems and disc valves. With the pushbutton released, ports A and R are linked via the hollow left-hand stem and ports P and B linked via the normally-open right hand disc valve. When the pushbutton is pressed, the link between ports A and R is first closed, then the link between P and B closed.

The link between A and P is next opened, and finally the link between B and R opened. When the pushbutton is released, air and spring pressure puts the valve back to its original state.

Poppet valves are simple, cheap and robust, but it is generally simpler to manufacture valves more complicated than those shown in Figure 4.11 by using spool valves. Further, a major disadvantage of poppet valves is the force needed to operate them. In the poppet valve of Figure 4.10, for example, the force required on the pushbutton
to operate the valve is P x a newtons. Large capacity valves need large valve areas, leading to large operating force. The high pressure in hydraulic systems thus tends to prevent use of simple

poppet valves and they are, therefore, mainly found in low pressure pneumatic systems.

Spool valves
Spool (or slide) valves are constructed with a spool moving horizontally within the valve body, as shown for the 4/2 valve in Figure 4.12. Raised areas called 'lands' block or open ports to give the required operation.

The operation of a spool valve is generally balanced. In the valve construction in Figure 4.12b, for example, pressure is applied to opposing faces D and E and low tank pressure to faces F and G.

There is no net force on the spool from system pressure, allowing the spool to be easily moved.

Figure 4.13 is a changeover 4/2 spool valve. Comparison of the valves shown in Figures 4.12 and 4.13 shows they have the same body construction, the only difference being the size and position of lands on the spool. This is a major cost-saving advantage of spool valves; different operations can be achieved with a common body and different spools. This obviously reduces manufacturing costs.

Figure 4.14 shows various forms of three position changeover valves; note, again, these use one body with different functions achieved by different land patterns.
Spool valves are operated by shifting the spool. This can be achieved by button, lever or striker, or remotely with a solenoid.

Self-centring can easily be provided if springs are mounted at the end of the spool shaft.

Solenoid-operated valves commonly work at 24 V DC or 110 V AC. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. A DC power supply has to be provided for 24 V DC solenoids, which, in large systems, is substantial and costly. Operating current of a 24 V solenoid is higher than a 110 V solenoid's. Care must be taken with plant cabling to avoid voltage drops on return legs if a common single line return is used.

Current through a DC solenoid is set by the winding resistance. Current in an AC solenoid, on the other hand, is set by the inductance of the windings, and this is usually designed to give a high inrush current followed by low holding current. This is achieved by using the core of the solenoid (linked to the spool) to raise the coil inductance when the spool has moved. One side effect of this is that a jammed spool results in a permanent high current which can damage the coil or the device driving it.

Each and every AC solenoid should be protected by an individual fuse. DC solenoids do not suffer from this characteristic. A burned out DC solenoid coil is
almost unknown.

Whatever form of solenoid is used it is very useful when fault finding to have local electrical indication built into the solenoid plug top. This allows a fault to be quickly identified as either an electrical or hydraulic problem. Fault finding is discussed further in Chapter 8.

A solenoid can exert a pull or push of about 5 to 10 kg. This is adequate for most pneumatic spool valves, but is too low for direct operation of large capacity hydraulic valves. Here pilot operation must be used, a topic discussed later.

Rotary valves
Rotary valves consist of a rotating spool which aligns with holes in the valve casing to give the required operation. Figure 4.15 shows the construction and symbol of a typical valve with centre off action.

Rotary valves are compact, simple and have low operating forces. They are, however, low pressure devices and are consequently mainly used for hand operation in pneumatic systems.

Pilot-operated valves
With large capacity pneumatic valves (particularly poppet valves) and most hydraulic valves, the operating force required to move the valve can be large. If the required force is too large for a solenoid or manual operation, a two-stage process called pilot operation is used.

The principle is shown in Figure 4.16. Valve 1 is the main operating valve used to move a ram. The operating force required to move the valve, however, is too large for direct operation by a solenoid, so a second smaller valve 2, known as the pilot valve, has been added to allow the main valve to be operated

by system pressure. Pilot pressure lines are normally shown dotted in circuit diagrams, and pilot ports on main valves are denoted Z, Y, X and so on.

In Figure 4 16, pilot port Z is depressurised with the solenoid deenergised, and the ram is retracted. When the solenoid is energised valve 2 changes over, pressurising Z; causing valve 1 to energize and the ram to extend.

Although pilot operation can be achieved with separate valves it is more usual to use a pilot/main valve assembly manufactured as a complete ready made unit. Figure 4.17 shows the operation of a pilot-operated 3/2 pneumatic valve. The solenoid operates
the small pilot valve directly. Because this valve has a small area, a low operating force is required. The pilot valve applies line pressure to the top of the control valve causing it to move down, closing the exhaust port. When it contacts the main valve disc there are two forces acting on the valve stem. The pilot valve applies a downwards force of P x D, where P is the line pressure and D is the area of the control valve. Line pressure also applies an upwards force P x E to the stem, where E is the area of the main valve.

The area of the control valve, D, is greater than area of the main valve E, so the downwards force is the larger and the valve opens.

When the solenoid de-energises, the space above the control valve is vented. Line an spring pressure on the main valve causes the valve stem to rise again, venting port A.

A hydraulic 4/2 pilot-operated spool valve is shown in Figure4.18. The ends of the pilot spool in most hydraulic pilot-operated valves are visible from outside the valve. This is useful from a maintenance viewpoint as it allows the operation of a valve to be
checked. In extreme cases the valve can be checked by pushing the pilot spool directly with a suitably sized rod (welding rod is ideal !).

Care must be taken to check solenoid states on dual solenoid valves before attempting manual operation. Overriding an energised AC solenoid creates a large current which may damage the coil, (or blow the fuse if the solenoid has correctly installed protection).

Check valves
Check valves only allow flow in one direction and, as such, are similar in operation to electronic diodes. The simplest constructionis the ball and seat arrangement of the valve in Figure 4.19a, commonly used in pneumatic systems. The right angle construction in Figure 4.19b is better suited to the higher pressures of a hydraulic

system. Free flow direction is normally marked with an arrow on the valve casing.

A check valve is represented by the graphic symbols in Figure 4.20. The symbol in Figure 4.20a is rather complex and the simpler symbol in Figure 4.20b is more commonly used.

Figure 4.21 illustrates several common applications of check valves. Figure 4.21a shows a combination pump, used where an application requires large volume and low pressure, or low volume and high pressure. A typical case is a clamp required to engage quickly (high volume and low pressure) then grip (minimal volume but high pressure). Pump 1 is the high volume and low pressure pump, and pump 2 the high pressure pump. In high volume mode both pumps deliver to the system, pump 1 delivering through the check valve V 3. When high pressure is required, line pressure at X rises operating unloading valve V 1 via pilot port Z taking pump 1 off load. Pump 2 delivers the required pressure set by relief valve V 2, with the check valve preventing fluid leaking back to pump 1 and V1.

Figure 4.21b shows a hydraulic circuit with a pressure storage device called an accumulator (described in a later chapter). Here a check valve allows the pump to unload via the pressure regulating valve, while still maintaining system pressure from the accumulator.

A spring-operated check valve requires a small pressure to open (called the cracking pressure) and acts to some extent like a low pressure relief valve. This characteristic can be used to advantage.

In Figure 4.21c pilot pressure is derived before a check valve, and in Figure 4.21 d a check valve is used to protect a blocked filter by diverting flow around the filter when pressure rises. A check valve is also included in the tank return to prevent fluid being sucked out of the tank when the pump is turned off.

Pilot-operated check valves
The cylinder in the system in Figure 4.22 should, theoretically, hold position when the control valve is in its centre, off, position. In practice, the cylinder will tend to creep because of leakage in the control valve.

Check valves have excellent sealage in the closed position, but a simple check valve cannot be used in the system in Figure 4.22 because flow is required in both directions. A pilot-operated check is similar to a basic check valve but can be held open permanently by application of an external pilot pressure signal.

There are two basic forms of pilot-operated check valves, shown in Figure 4.23. They operate in a similar manner to basic check valves, but with pilot pressure directly opening the valves. In the 4C valve shown in Figure 4.23a, inlet pressure assists the pilot. The

symbol of a pilot-operated check valve is shown in Figure 4.23c. The cylinder application of Figure 4.22 is redrawn with pilot operated check valves in Figure 4.23d. The pilot lines are connected to the pressure line feeding the other side of the cylinder. For any cylinder movement, one check valve is held open by flow (operating
as a normal check valve) and the other is held open by pilot pressure. For no required movement, both check valves are closed and the cylinder is locked in position.

Restriction check valves
The speed of a hydraulic or pneumatic actuator can be controlled by adjusting the rate at which a fluid is admitted to, or allowed out from, a device. This topic is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 but a speed control is often required to be direction-sensitive and this requires the inclusion of a check valve.

A restriction check valve (often called a throttle relief valve in pneumatics) allows full flow in one direction and a reduced flow in the other direction. Figure 4.24a shows a simple hydraulic valve and Figure 4.24b a pneumatic valve. In both, a needle valve sets restricted flow to the required valve. The symbol of a restriction
check valve is shown in Figure 4.24c.

Figure 4.24d shows a typical application in which the cylinder extends at full speed until a limit switch makes, then extend further at low speed. Retraction is at full speed.

A restriction check valve V 2 is fitted in one leg of the cylinder. With the cylinder retracted, limit-operated valve V 3 is open allowing free flow of fluid from the cylinder as it extends. When the striker plate on the cylinder ram hits the limit, valve V 3 closes and flow out of the cylinder is now restricted by the needle valve setting
of valve V 2. In the reverse direction, the check valve on valve V 2 opens giving full speed of retraction.

Read More

Introduction to Control Valves (symbols)

Pneumatic and hydraulic systems require control valves to direct and regulate the flow of fluid from compressor or pump to the various load devices. Although there are significant practical differences between pneumatic and hydraulic devices (mainly arising from differences in operating pressures and types of seals needed for gas or liquid) the operating principles and descriptions are very similar.
Although valves are used for many purposes, there are essentially only two types of valve. An infinite position valve can take up any position between open and closed and, consequently, can be used to modulate flow or pressure. Relief valves described in earlier chapters are simple infinite position valves.
Most control valves, however, are only used to allow or block flow of fluid. Such valves are called finite position valves. An analogy between the two types of valve is the comparison between an electric light dimmer and a simple on/off switch.
Connections to a valve are termed 'ports'. A simple on/off valve therefore has two
ports. Most control valves, however, have four ports shown in hydraulic and pneumatic forms in Figure 4.1.
In both the load is connected to ports labelled A, B and the pressure supply (from pump or compressor) to port E In the hydraulic valve, fluid is returned to the tank from port T. In the pneumatic valve return air is vented from port R.
Figure 4.2 shows internal operation of valves. To extend the ram, ports P and B are connected to deliver fluid and ports A and T connected to return fluid. To retract the ram, ports P and A are connected to deliver fluid and ports B and T to return fluid.

Another consideration is the number of control positions. Figure 4.3 shows two possible control schemes. In Figure 4.3a, the ram is controlled by a lever with two positions; extend or retract. This valve has two control positions (and the ram simply drives to one end or other of its stroke). The valve in Figure 4.3b has three positions;
extend, off, retract. Not surprisingly the valve in Figure 4.3a is called a two position valve, while that in Figure 4.3b is a three position valve.

Finite position valves are commonly described as a port/position valve where port is the number of ports and position is the number of positions. Figure 4.3a therefore illustrates a 4/2 valve, and Figure 4.3b shows a 4/3 valve. A simple block/allow valve is a 2/2 valve.

The numbers of ports and positions does not, however, completely describe the valve. We must also describe its action. Figure 4.4 shows one possible action for the 4/3 valve of Figure 4.3b.
Extend and retract connections are similar, but in the off position ports P and T are connected-unloading the pump back to the tank without need of a separate loading valve, while leaving the ram locked in position. (This approach could, of course, only be used where the pump supplies one load). Other possible arrangements may block all four ports in the off position (to maintain pressure), or connect ports A, B and T (to leave the ram free in the off position).
A complete valve description thus needs number of ports, number of positions and the control action.

Graphic symbols
Simple valve symbols have been used so far to describe control actions. From the discussions in the previous section it can be seen that control actions can easily become too complex for representation by sketches showing how a valve is constructed.

A set of graphic symbols has therefore evolved (similar, in principle, to symbols used on electrical circuit diagrams). These show component function without showing the physical construction of each device. A 3/2 spool valve and a 3/2 rotary valve with the same function have the same symbol; despite their totally different constructions.

Symbols are described in various national documents; DIN24300, BS2917, ISO1219 and the new ISO5599, CETOP RP3 plus the original American JIC and ANSI symbols. Differences between these are minor.

A valve is represented by a square for each of its switching positions. Figure 4.5a thus shows the symbol of a two position valve, and Figure 4.5b a three position valve. Valve positions can be represented by letters a, b, c and so on, with 0 being used for a central neutral position.

Ports of a valve are shown on the outside of boxes in normal unoperated or initial position. Four ports have been added to the two position valve symbol shown in Figure 4.5c. Designations given to ports are normally:

Port Designation
Working lines A, B, C and so on

Pressure (power) supply P

Exhaust/Return R, S, T and so on

Control (Pilot) Lines (T normally used for hydraulic systems, R and S for
pneumatic systems) Z, Y, X and so on

ISO 5599 proposes to replace these letters with numbers, a retrograde step in the author's opinion.

Arrow-headed lines represent direction of flow. In Figure 4.6a, for example fluid is delivered from port P to port A and returned from port B to port T when the valve is in its normal state a. In state b, flow is reversed. This valve symbol corresponds to the valve represented in Figures 4.2 and 4.3a.

Shut off positions are represented by "r, as shown by the central position of the valve in Figure 4.6b, and internal flow paths can be represented as shown in Figure 4.6c. This latter valve, incidentally, vents the load in the off position.

In pneumatic systems, lines commonly vent to atmosphere directly at the valve, as shown by port R in Figure 4.6d.

Figure 4.7a shows symbols for the various ways in which valves can be operated. Figure 4.7b thus represents a 4/2 valve operated by a pushbutton. With the pushbutton depressed the ram extends. With the pushbutton released, the spring pushes the valve to position a and the ram retracts.

Actuation symbols can be combined. Figure 4.7c represents asolenoid-operated 4/3 valve, with spring return to centre.
Infinite position valve symbols are shown in Figure 4.8. A basic valve is represented by a single square as shown in Figure 4.8a, with the valve being shown in a normal, or non-operated, position.

Control is shown by normal actuation symbols" in Figure 4.8b, for example, the spring pushes the valve right decreasing flow, and pilot pressure pushes the valve left increasing flow. This represents a pressure relief valve which would be connected into a hydraulic system as shown in Figure 4.8c.

Read More

Cooling Towers

Before the development of cooling towers, rivers, lakes, and cooling ponds were required to supply cooling. Through the development of the mechanical draft cooling tower, as little as one square foot of area is needed for every 1000 square feet required for a cooling pond or lake.

Cooling towers minimize the thermal pollution of the natural water heat sinks and allow the reuse of circulating water. An example of the manner in which a cooling tower can fit into a system is shown in Figure 10.

The cooling of the water in a cooling tower is accomplished by the direct contact of water and air. This cooling effect is provided primarily by an exchange of latent heat of vaporization resulting from evaporation of a small amount of water and by a transfer of sensible heat, which raises the temperature of the air. The heat transferred from the water to the air is dissipated to the atmosphere.

*Induced Draft Cooling Towers
Induced draft cooling towers, illustrated in Figure 11, are constructed such that the incoming circulating water is dispersed throughout the cooling tower via a spray header. The spray is directed down over baffles that are designed to maximize the contact between water and air. The air is drawn through the baffled area by large circulating fans and causes the evaporation and the cooling of the water.

The nomenclature for induced draft cooling towers, including some items not illustrated in Figure 11 is summarized below.

Casing - The casing encloses the walls of the cooling tower, exclusive of fan deck and louvers.

Collecting basin - The collecting basin is a receptacle beneath the cooling tower for collecting the water cooled by the cooling tower. It can be made of concrete, wood, metal, or an alternative material.
Certain necessary accessories are required such as sump, strainers, overflow, drain, and a makeup system.

Drift eliminators - The drift eliminators are parallel blades of PVC, wood, metal,
or an alternative material arranged on the air discharge side of the fill to remove entrained water droplets from the leaving air stream.

- The driver is a device that supplies power to turn the fan. It is usually an electric motor, but turbines and internal combustion engines are occasionally used.

Drive shaft - The drive shaft is a device, including couplings, which transmits power from the driver to the speed reducer.

Fan - The fan is a device used to induce air flow through the cooling tower.

Fan deck - The fan deck is a horizontal surface enclosing the top of the cooling tower above the plenum that serves as a working platform for inspection and maintenance.

Fan stack - The fan stack is a cylinder enclosing the fan, usually with an eased inlet and an expanding discharge for increased fan efficiency.

Fill - The fill is PVC, wood, metal, or an alternative material that provides extended water surface exposure for evaporative heat transfer.

Intake louvers - The intake louvers are an arrangement of horizontal blades at the air inlets that prevent escape of falling water while allowing the entry of air.

Makeup valve - The makeup valve is a valve that introduces fresh water into the collection basin to maintain the desired collecting basin water level.

Overflow-The overflow is a drain that prevents the collecting basin from overflowing.

Partition - The partition is a baffle within a multicell cooling tower that is used to prevent air and/or water flow between adjacent cells.

Plenum - The plenum is the internal cooling tower area between the drift eliminators and the fans.

Speed reducer - The speed reducer is a right-angle gear box that transmits power to the fan while reducing the driver speed to that required for optimal fan performance.

Sump - The sump is a depressed portion of the collecting basin from which cold water is drawn to be returned to the connected system. The sump usually contains strainer screens, antivortex devices, and a drain or cleanout connection.

Distribution system - The distribution system is that portion of a cooling tower that distributes water over the fill area. It usually consists of one or more flanged inlets, flow control valves, internal headers, distribution basins, spray branches, metering orifices, and other related components.

*Forced Draft Cooling Towers
Forced draft cooling towers are very similar to induced draft cooling towers. The primary difference is that the air is blown in at the bottom of the tower and exits at the top. Forced draft cooling towers are the forerunner to induced draft cooling towers. Water distribution problems and recirculation difficulties discourage the use of forced draft cooling towers.

*Natural Convection Cooling Towers
Natural convection cooling towers, illustrated in Figure 12, use the principle of convective flow to provide air circulation. As the air inside the tower is heated, it rises through the tower. This process draws more air in, creating a natural air flow to provide cooling of the water. The basin at the bottom of the tower is open to the atmosphere. The cooler, more dense air outside the tower will flow in at the bottom and contribute to the air circulation within the tower. The air circulation will be self perpetuating due to the density difference between the warmer air inside and the cooler air outside.

The incoming water is sprayed around the circumference of the tower and cascades to the bottom. The natural convection cooling towers are much larger than the forced draft cooling towers and cost much more to construct. Because of space considerations and cost, natural convection cooling towers are built less frequently than other types.


The cooling tower removes heat from water used in cooling systems within the plant. The heat is released to the air rather than to a lake or stream. This allows facilities to locate in areas with less water available because the cooled water can be recycled. It also aids environmental efforts by not contributing to thermal pollution.

Induced draft cooling towers use fans to create a draft that pulls air through the cooling tower fill. Because the water to be cooled is distributed such that it cascades over the baffles, the air blows through the water, cooling it.

Forced draft cooling towers blow air in at the bottom of the tower. The air exits at the top of the tower. Water distribution and recirculation difficulties limit their use.

Natural convection cooling towers function on the basic principle that hot air rises. As the air inside the tower is heated, it rises through the tower. This process draws more air in, creating a natural air flow to provide cooling of the water.
Read More

Centrifugal Compressor

Air compressors of various designs are used widely throughout DOE facilities in numerous applications. Compressed air has numerous uses throughout a facility including the operation of equipment and portable tools. Three types of designs include reciprocating, rotary, and centrifugal air compressors.

Centrifugal Compressors
The centrifugal compressor, originally
built to handle only large volumes of low

pressure gas and air (maximum of 40
psig), has been developed to enable it to
move large volumes of gas with discharge
pressures up to 3,500 psig. However,
centrifugal compressors are now most
frequently used for medium volume and
medium pressure air delivery. One
advantage of a centrifugal pump is the
smooth discharge of the compressed air.

The centrifugal force utilized by the
centrifugal compressor is the same force
utilized by the centrifugal pump. The air
particles enter the eye of the impeller,
designated D in Figure 6. As the impeller rotates, air is thrown against the casing of the compressor. The air
becomes compressed as more and more air is thrown out to the casing by the impeller blades.

The air is pushed along the path designated A, B, and C in Figure 6. The pressure of the air is increased as it is pushed along this path. Note in Figure 6 that the impeller blades curve forward, which is opposite to the backward curve used in typical centrifugal liquid pumps.

Centrifugal compressors can use a variety of blade orientation including both forward and backward curves as well as other designs.

There may be several stages to a centrifugal air compressor, as in the centrifugal pump, and the result would be the same; a higher pressure would be produced. The air compressor is used to create compressed or high pressure air for a variety of uses.

Some of its uses are pneumatic control devices, pneumatic sensors, pneumatic valve operators, pneumatic motors, and starting air for diesel engines.
Read More

Rotary Compressors

Air compressors of various designs are used widely throughout DOE facilities in numerous applications. Compressed air has numerous uses throughout a facility including the operation of equipment and portable tools. Three types of designs include reciprocating, rotary, and centrifugal air compressors.

Rotary Compressors

The rotary compressor is adaptable to direct drive by induction motors or multicylinder gasoline or diesel engines. The units are compact, relatively inexpensive, and require a minimum of operating attention and maintenance. They occupy a fraction of the space and weight of a reciprocating machine of equivalent capacity. Rotary compressor units are classified into three general groups, slide vane-type, lobe-type, and liquid seal ring-type.

*The rotary slide vane-type, as illustrated in Figure 3, has longitudinal vanes, sliding radially in a slotted rotor mounted eccentrically in a cylinder. The centrifugal force carries the sliding vanes against the cylindrical case with the vanes forming a number of individual longitudinal cells in the eccentric annulus between the case and rotor. The suction port is located where the longitudinal cells are largest. The size of each cell is reduced by the eccentricity of the rotor as the vanes approach the discharge port, thus compressing the air.

*The rotary lobe-type, illustrated in Figure
features two mating lobe-type rotors mounted in a case. The lobes are gear driven at close clearance, but without metal-to-metal contact. The suction to the unit is located where the cavity made by the lobes is largest. As the lobes rotate, the cavity size is reduced, causing
compression of the vapor within. The compression continues until the discharge port is reached, at which point the vapor exits the compressor at a higher pressure.

*The rotary liquid seal ring-type,
illustrated in Figure 5, features a forward inclined, open impeller, in an oblong cavity filled with liquid. As the impeller
rotates, the centrifugal force causes the seal liquid to collect at the outer edge of
the oblong cavity. Due to the oblong configuration of the compressor case, large longitudinal cells are created and reduced to smaller ones. The suction port is positioned where the longitudinal cells are the largest, and for the discharge port, where they are smallest, thus causing the vapor within the cell to compress as the rotor rotates. The rotary liquid seal compressor is frequently used in specialized applications for the compression of extremely corrosive and exothermic gasses and is commonly used in commercial nuclear plants as a means of establishing initial condenser vacuum.

Read More

Reciprocating Compressors

Air compressors of various designs are used widely throughout DOE facilities in numerous applications. Compressed air has numerous uses throughout a facility including the operation of equipment and portable tools. Three types of designs include reciprocating, rotary, and centrifugal air compressors.

*Reciprocating Compressors
The reciprocating air compressor, illustrated in Figure 1, is the most common design employed today.
The reciprocating compressor normally consists of the following elements.

a. The compressing element, consisting of air cylinders, heads and pistons, and air
inlet and discharge valves.

b. A system of connecting rods, piston rods, crossheads, and a crankshaft and
flywheel for transmitting the power developed by the driving unit to the air
cylinder piston.

c. A self-contained lubricating system for bearings, gears, and cylinder walls,
including a reservoir or sump for the lubricating oil, and a pump,
or other means of delivering oil to the various parts. On some compressors a
separate force-fed lubricator is installed to supply oil to the compressor

d. A regulation or control system designed to maintain the pressure in the
discharge line and air receiver (storage tank) within a predetermined range of

e. An unloading system, which operates in conjunction with the regulator, to
reduce or eliminate the load put on the prime mover when starting the unit.

A section of a typical reciprocating single-stage, single-acting compressor cylinder is shown in Figure 2. Inlet and discharge valves are located in the clearance space and connected through ports in the cylinder head to the inlet and discharge connections.

During the suction stroke the compressor piston starts its downward stroke and the air under pressure in the clearance space rapidly expands until the pressure falls below that on the opposite side of the inlet valve (Figures 2B and 2C). This difference in pressure causes the inlet valve to open into the cylinder until the piston reaches the bottom of its stroke (Figure 2C).

During the compression stroke the piston starts upward, compression begins, and at point D has reached the same pressure as the compressor intake. The spring-loaded inlet valve then closes.

As the piston continues upward, air is compressed until the pressure in the cylinder becomes great enough to open the discharge valve against the pressure of the valve springs and the pressure of the discharge line (Figure 2E). From this point, to the end of the stroke (Figures 2E and 2A), the air compressed within the cylinder is discharged at practically constant pressure.

Read More