A moveable valve for controlling flow of a pressurized working fluid was designed. This valve consists of a hollow, moveable floating piston pressed against a stationary solid seat, and can use the working fluid to seal the valve. This open/closed, novel valve is able to use metal-to-metal seats, without requiring seat sliding action; therefore there are no associated damaging effects.

During use, existing standard high-pressure ball valve seats tend to become damaged during rotation of the ball. Additionally, forces acting on the ball and stem create large amounts of friction. The combination of these effects can lead to system failure. In an attempt to reduce damaging effects and seat failures, soft seats in the ball valve have been eliminated; however, the sliding action of the ball across the highly loaded seat still tends to scratch the seat, causing failure. Also, in order to operate, ball valves require the use of large actuators. Positioning the metal-to-metal seats requires more loading, which tends to increase the size of the required actuator, and can also lead to other failures in other areas such as the stem and bearing mechanisms, thus increasing cost and maintenance.

This novel non-sliding seat surface valve allows metal-to-metal seats without the damaging effects that can lead to failure, and enables large seating forces without damaging the valve. Addi tionally, this valve design, even when used with large, high-pressure applications, does not require large conventional valve actuators and the valve stem itself is eliminated. Actuation is achieved with the use of a small, simple solenoid valve. This design also eliminates the need for many seals used with existing ball valve and globe valve designs, which commonly cause failure, too. This, coupled with the elimination of the valve stem and conventional valve actuator, improves valve reliability and seat life.

Other mechanical liftoff seats have been designed; however, they have only resulted in increased cost, and incurred other reliability issues. With this novel design, the seat is lifted by simply removing the working fluid pressure that presses it against the seat and no external force is required.

By eliminating variables associated with existing ball and globe configurations that can have damaging effects upon a valve, this novel design reduces downtime in rocket engine test schedules and maintenance costs.

This work was done by Bruce Farner of Stennis Space Center, (U.S. Patent #8,336,849), and is available for licensing. For more information contact the SSC Office of the Center Chief Technologist at (228) 688-1929 or by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. SSC-00264

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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