What Is an Air Release Valve?

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An air valve is used on many industrial components and systems. It is a small valve that is usually placed on the end of a pumping system, tank or container that is part of a system. These valves come in all sizes and shapes. They have one particular function which lends itself to a wide range of industries and operations.

Function

  • An air valve is used to release air in a pumping system. This gets the air pockets out of the pipe. The valve is designed to let air pass through while keeping solids and other matter inside the system.

Significance

  • An air valve will improve the flow of the fluids and materials in the system because the releasing of air in pipes makes them more efficient. Air pockets slow down liquid flow because air takes up space inside the pipes that would otherwise be taken up by the materials. Air pockets also affect the operation of pumping systems, which are designed to move heavier fluids and not air.

Location

  • Air valves are installed on the top of pipes and pipe systems. This is because air typically rises in fluids such as water or liquid waste. The air will escape more naturally through a valve located on the top of the pipe.

Benefits

  • Air valves are designed to reduce other problems aside from flow reduction. The main problem an air valve prevents is "water hammer," or banging of the pipes when excess air is pushed through them, which is caused by a large buildup of air in the pipes. The valves are also cost effective because they are not very expensive.

Types

  • Air and vacuum valves are another related type of valve that is used as an air release mechanism in a pipeline. In this valve, a float mechanism opens when excess air is present, allowing it to escape. Used to expel large amounts of air in sewage pipes and other systems, they may also be used to take air into a system. Combination valves combine air release and air and vacuum valve features for added protection. These are considered more stable and versatile by engineers.

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