Components of 3 way ball valves

3 way ball valves FAQ

What is a three-way ball valve?

A 3-way ball valve is a multi-port ball valve with three openings, usually known as ports. Tubing and piping are connected to these ports to enable fluid or gas flow control. Depending on the direction of flow through the three-way ball valve, these three openings are often described as:

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  • Single outlet and two inlets
  • Single inlet and two outlets

3 way ball valves will provide you with a simple way of controlling both flow direction and shut off in a single body. Moreover, they are economical.

What are the components of 3 way ball valves?

The three-way ball valve construction has the following crucial parts:-

The body: This is the main component of the three-way ball valve. It houses all other components for off and on control.

The stem: This component provides a connection between an external control mechanism, e.g., lever or handle, and the ball component.

The rotary ball: Being a ball valve, the three-way ball valve uses a ball with a centre bore to allow media flow. These bores are cut out channels. You can control this component by turning the stem.

The seats: These components provide a seal between the ball and the body as they are located between said components.

Actuation handles or levers: As an operator, you will use these components to turn the ball.

Bonnet: This component houses the packing and stem components.

Packing: Prevents media escape as it acts as a seal around the stem component.

How does a three-way ball valve work?

Turning the lever/handle turns the ball component of the three-way ball valve to align its cut out channels to the valve outlets and inlets. Different levels of control are achieved depending on the degree of handle rotation or ball port type. The common types of ports are L-port and T port.

L port three-way ball valves have an L shaped cut out channel. This implies that media will be sent from one port to another through a 90-degree angle when actuated.

T port three-way ball valves have a T shaped cut out channel that can send media from one port to another. These ports can also be aligned to the three-way ball valve’s T shape to mix all the ports.

What are the applications of 3 way ball valves?

Typical applications of 3 way ball valves are water chiller, air handling and fan coil units. In these instances, you can use three-way ball valves to open flow in one pipe while shutting off flow in another line.

Moreover, you can use three-way ball valves to mix media from two separate inlets into one pipe or one inlet into two outlets.

Applications may vary depending on the port type. T port three-way ball valve applications include:

  • Combining flow from two separate sources.
  • Split the flow of media between two different destinations.
  • Allow mixing of media from two separate sources.
  • Alternate the flow of media between different destinations.

L port three-way ball valves include:

  • Diversion of flow to allow seasonal demand accommodation.
  • Changing source of media flow.
  • Diversion of flow from one destination to another.

What are the available types of 3 way ball valves?

Diverter valve

The alternate name for this type of 3 way ball valve is the L port ball valve. This is because its design enables you to change or divert the flow going out through one port or outlet.

These three-way ball valves have a single inlet and two separate outlets.




T port three-way ball valves

These are most commonly referred to as 180° ball valves. You can use them to accommodate two inlet flows and combine them to flow out through a single outlet. Depending on your process requirements, the reverse is possible.

You should consider this type if your process requires straight flow, mixing, diversion, or split flow through the valve.

It’s also worth noting that this type of 3 way ball valves will not provide shutoff control. You can only use them to prevent flow from any two ports.

What factors should you consider when choosing a three-way ball valve?

Consider the operating pressure.

Indeed, the shutoff based applications are manufactured to handle an immense amount of pressure in liquid flow within pipes. When it comes to purchasing 3- Way ball valves, you must check the pressure that the specified valves are designed to handle as the slightest negligence can cause leakage in pipes leading to devastating effects. In this regard, it would be great to identify the exact size of the valve needed to fit into the pipeline structure.

Consider three-way ball valve capability.

3- Way ball valves and their shutoff applications are designed in such a way to manage cold as well as hot fluid passage. Before buying the valve, it is necessary to decide over the fluid temperature that needs to pass through them and pipes. The 3-Way ball valves should be strong enough to resist extreme hot and cold conditions as they are constructed from different kinds of materials like steel, ceramic, and PVC. Each material has its specialities and is adaptable to varied temperature conditions.

Consider the type of fluid you will be passing.

Specific applications in 3- Way ball valves and flow power systems are deliberated for varied forms of liquids. Some of the valve systems are meant to deal with fluid impending from dams and reservoirs to numerous hydroelectric power plants. Indeed, many of the flow control structures are accountable for the appropriate stream of chemicals in big organizations. With various specialized valves manufactured to guarantee that radioactive materials will not be seeping out, numerous companies are effectively relying on these 3 -Way ball valves.

Consider the volume of fluid that you will be passing through the valve

You must identify the kind of fluid volume that will be passing through the 3-way ball valve. Selecting the 3 –Way ball valve with well-suited material to handle the passage of specified fluid volume is the best choice. It will ensure your safety and that of people handling your pipeline structure

Finally, consider the cost of the 3- way ball valve

On buying the right kind of 3-Way ball valve, you must identify the cost of the product and the cost of installation. It is good to check our catalogue carefully to find a three-way ball valve within your price range.

Generally, they are required in specified conditions where firm closure is obligatory. To buy high-quality valves, you must check out the factors mentioned above to get them the best possible product for robust and long-time usage.

How do you tell the direction of a three-way ball valve?

A T shaped or L shaped arrow symbol is on the three-way ball valve handle. This symbol mimics the ball component’s cut out part. You can determine the direction of media flow by referring to this symbol.

Simply put, the handle has an arrow symbol that indicates the position of the port inside the three-way ball valve.

How do you install a three-way ball valve?

For T port three-way ball valves, you should ensure that the inlet, i.e., port A, is piped to the coil to maintain proper control. Additionally, you must ensure that the other inlet, i.e., port B, is installed in a way that yields 70% of the flow from port A.

For L port three-way ball valves,  you should pipe port B as the central bypass port perpendicular to the flow.

What materials are three-way ball valves made from?

Different parts of the three-way ball valves are made from different types of materials.

The ball, body, and stem are usually made of materials like PVC, Brass, Carbon Steel, or Stainless Steel. Using such materials allows the ball valve to accommodate up to 232 PSIG pressures at 73°F and work in temperatures of up to 140°F.

The seat and seal components are made from PTFE or TFM material.

What is the pressure rating of the three-way ball valve?

A 3 way ball valve can accommodate pressure as high as 100 MPa; 15,000 psi. These pressure ratings are primarily affected by the type of materials used and the overall design of the three-way ball valve.

What are the advantages of 3 way ball valves?

The main advantages of a three-way Ball Valve are:

  • A 3-way ball valve provides a simple structure, compact design, low volume, and less weight.
  • 3-way ball valves provide low resistance to the media passing through the valve.
  • The sealing of the 3-way ball valves is excellent. Thus, you can employ them in vacuum systems.
  • Maintenance of the 3-way ball valves is simple and will save you time.
  • 3-way ball valves come in various sizes, increasing the range of applications you can use.

Why are handles an important part of 3 way ball valves?

The handles of the three-way ball valves turn within a given range of motion. You can control the three-way ball valve by turning the handle to shut off or to open flow. Moreover, handles have a visible arrow symbol on them that mimics the cut out channels on the ball component.

This could come in handy when trying to determine the direction of media flow through the three way ball valve.

What are the major disadvantages of 3 way ball valves?

3 way ball valves, like all other ball valves, have terrible throttling properties. Due to high-velocity flows, the partially exposed seat in a throttling position can make it vulnerable to erosion. As a result, we do not recommend three-way ball valves for such applications.

Wear and tear. Ball valves may stick in place and become stuck if used to control the wrong type of media. Slurries have suspended particles that may get trapped and cause this problem. The three-way ball valve may wear out, get stuck or become damaged in the long term.


 What are the flow patterns supported by three-way ball valves?

L-Pattern flow

The L-pattern 3-way ball valve makes a shift in the flow from one port to the other by rotating the handle or actuator to 90 degrees. Suppose the first position is opened by the bottom port and the left port. A quarter turn in the counter-clockwise direction causes the valve to divert the flow of the media to the right outlet.

Another quarter turn in the other direction, allowing a complete rotation of 180 degrees, blocks the passage of media. A 270-turn will also obstruct the media movement.

However, having a complete 360-turn enables the valve to return to its original place. In a manner, two of the three ports are available at one time. This makes it possible for the valve to have two shutoff positions and three flow pattern choices.

T-pattern flow

The T-pattern is called a mixer valve since the media of two inlet flows can be mixed within the valve. It’s leaving the valve on the other end. In a way, you can open all three ports at one time. The T-pattern of flow can be similar to that of the L-pattern of flow. You can achieve this with a quarter-turn of the handle. T-patterns cannot have a bubble-tight shutoff, but they can restrict the flow to two ports or facilitate the passage to all three ports.

What is a diverter valve?

Diverter, selecting or directional valves are alternate names used for L-pattern flow ball valves. This is because this valve design is widely used to divert or change the flow going out through two different valve outlets or ports.

Manual three-way L-pattern ball valves used as diverter valves are usually installed with the bottom port of the valve body as the common or flow entry port.

What are the temperature ratings for three-way ball valves?

3 way ball valves can accommodate temperatures up to 400 °Celsius (753 °F) depending on the materials used and the design.

What are the key features of 3 way ball valves?

3 way ball valves open and close without friction. The design of the three-way ball valve eliminates the rubbing of components during application.

Due to their jacket structure, you can check and maintain the three-way ball valves directly and cost-effectively.

The three-way ball valve’s seat is strong enough to withstand abnormalities in pressure rates.

Wedge sealing structure. 3 way ball valves utilize mechanical force provided by the stem, pressing the ball to the seat to release sealing. The sealing of the valve cannot be affected by the variation of differential pressure in pipes. Sealing can be guaranteed under different working conditions.

Self-cleaning. When the ball leaves the seat, fluid in pipes passes through the valve equally along the sealing face of the ball at an angle of 360°. This structure eliminates erosion to the seat caused by high-speed fluid and washes away accumulated things on the sealing face to realize self-cleaning.

What is the difference between 3 way ball valves and 2 way ball valves?

Two-way ball valves are widely used as shutoff valves for gases or liquids (media) moving through the closed tube or pipe systems. This is because of their simplicity and reliability.

Two-way valves have two ports or openings where pipe or tubing is connected to the valve. The ball in two-way ball valves has a single straight hole where the liquid or gas (media) passes through the valve.

Three-way ball valves have three ports or connections for the pipe. In general, three-way valves can solve more complex flow control needs than two-way valves. This makes them useful for many types of process applications.

For example, you can use one type of three-way ball valve to mix purified water from one source with juice concentrate from another source. A slightly different three-way valve design could divert fuel flowing from one tank to another tank while still shutting off fuel flow entirely if needed.

What is the difference between a three-way ball valve and a three-piece ball valve?

How long do three-way ball valves last?

When used under the appropriate conditions, three-way ball valves can last very long.

However, they will lose their functionality over time and wear out. They will not last forever, but we guarantee that they will last for at least three years.

How do you maintain three-way ball valves?

You should periodically inject grease through the fittings of your three-way ball valves. You should do this about once every six months. Like the stem journals, other components do not require routine maintenance as they are already lubricated permanently at the factory.

After injecting grease, you should ensure that the ball’s diameter is aligned to the seat’s inner cavity plane. If it’s not, you should adjust the actuator’s stop ball.

Before disassembling, you should isolate the three-way ball valve from flow and pressure. This is a safety precaution that will go a long way in ensuring the safety of both you and the valve.

What test and design quality standards do three-way ball valves conform to?

JB2311-78 and GB12220 are Chinese valve standards for ball valve technology requirements and valve marking, respectively. The markings indicate useful information like pressure ratings.

ANSI/ASTME PTC25.3 standards for valve characteristic testing solutions. This means that the valve has been put through tests to determine whether or not it can handle certain working conditions.

What are the signs that the three-way ball valves are failing?

  • The three-way ball valve handles not moving. This is a common sign of failure. It occurs when debris enters the valve and damages the seal.
  • A damaged seal will seal entirely and may result in fluid or gas seepage.
  • The three-way ball valves will often be noisy.
  • They may start vibrating.

What determines the cost of 3 way ball valves?

The materials used to manufacture the three-way ball valve. Different materials with varying characteristics are used to manufacture three-way ball valves. Some wear out faster than others and are thereby cheaper. This simple factor determines the three-way ball valve’s versatility, longevity, durability, and strength. All of which are parameters that bring variations in the prices of 3 way ball valves.

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