The systems that we utilize everyday for the transportation of gas, water, and other fluids are often complex networks, requiring components to manage, regulate, and direct the flow of such fluids within a system. The solenoid valve is a component that fulfills this role, acting as an automatically operated valve that benefits a variety of industries, equipment, and applications. As solenoids serve as a major facet of modern mechanics, it is important to understand what they are, as well as their different types.
Within a fluid system, a solenoid is utilized to govern elements in fluidics, and they operate by opening or closing orifices of the valve in order to permit or prevent the flow of fluids. Unlike a conventional valve, a solenoid valve is operated electromechanically and does not require manual manipulation, thus opening up the ability for remote control to function as an externally piloted valve. To operate a solenoid valve, the solenoid may be energized by inducing an electric current through it, and this produces a magnetic field which is used to create mechanical energy for valve operations. With a solenoid part type, a system can release, dose, shut off, distribute, and mix fluids. Depending on the valve type that is present within a fluid system, a solenoid may be used to automate various functions.
Poppet and Spool Valves
The poppet valve is one in which a passage cover is held in place by either a spring or pressure from flow. The solenoid may be used alongside a poppet to change its position either directly or through the use of a pilot to open or close passages. With a poppet valve, higher flow rates may be achieved at the expense of needing a higher solenoid valve actuation force to overcome the pressure enacted on the poppet. Spool type valves feature seals along the spool’s bore, and the solenoid is used to affect the spool position. By changing the position of the spool, the seal alignment may be manipulated to permit or deny the flow of fluids. As spool valve types have a smaller amount of surface area that is affected by the pressure of flow, their actuation can be achieved with a less powerful solenoid as compared to a poppet valve. However, its reduced surface area also causes a limited rate of flow.
Direct and Pilot Valves
Direct acting solenoids are known as zero rated solenoid valves, and they may be actuated by a solenoid without needing a difference in pressure between the inlet and outlet ports. Such valves are fast acting and are simple in their design principles, but they are less capable for high flow applications. Pilot operated valve types are those that feature a diaphragm that is held in a closed position by a spring and the differential pressure of the inlet and outlet ports. The inlet and outlet ports are connected together by a secondary channel, and flow is governed by the solenoid through this channel. When in an open state, the valve permits some of the fluid to flow towards the outlet port, allowing the poppet pressure to equalize and open. As compared to direct acting valves, the pilot valve is slower in action, though allows for smaller solenoids to operate them.
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