Composite Materials May Hold the Key to Success
Some of the old lessons in design have to be unlearned when employing composites. It is useful to approach the application of composites in terms of balancing three parameters: design, material and production process. The matrix in Tyco Flow Control’s Composeal is actually a blend of two thermoplastics, which offers exceptional design flexibility. For example, material can be eliminated where it is not needed to create hollow sections within the valve body. This is optimised by locating the split not at 3 and 9 o’clock (as is common for metal resilient seated butterfly valves), but parallel to the flange surface instead.
“New materials call for new ideas. While some plastic valve designs that are currently in the market already employ hollow sections, these are on the exterior of the valve body, which can allow dirt and dust to collect. This problem can be avoided by having the body split parallel to the pipe flange,” Mr Malhotra elaborates. In fact, the CompoSeal design uses two identical body sections that snap together.
In the process industry, it is especially important to comply with the common water approvals, which entail certification of the toxicological requirements – including ingredient white list, taste, colour, odour and microorganism growth.
Valves also have to conform to product requirements, including chemical, mechanical requirements and functional requirements. The new composite valves available in the market fit well within existing regulatory frameworks and comply with appropriate industrial design standards and regulations such as ISO, EN, API, PED and EnEV.
A well-protected solution
The choice of a low-mass material, such as composite, offers a number of benefits to finished products. “Thinking specifically about valve applications again – although the principles can easily be extrapolated - there is the possibility of reducing the number of structural pipe supports in a typical process installation, especially when they are connected to plastic tanks or pipes. Further, it also makes the valves suitable for plastic pipe lines,” Mr Malhotra explains.
Further benefits are obtained in lower fuel consumption costs during transportation from the production plant to the site and lower installation costs.