Ball Valve Vs. Quarter Turn Valves

In this blog post, you’ll read:A ball valve is a kind of valve that uses a ball-shaped disc with a hole in the middle to regulate the fluid flow. The ball rotates within the valve body to control the flow of fluid. The fluid can flow through the valve when the ball is positioned to align the hole with the pipe.
Table of Contents

What Is the Ball Valve?

A ball valve is a kind of valve that uses a ball-shaped disc with a hole in the middle to regulate the fluid flow. The ball rotates within the valve body to control the flow of fluid. The fluid can flow through the valve when the ball is positioned to align the hole with the pipe. When the ball rotates 90 degrees, the hole is perpendicular to the pipe, and the flow is blocked.

What Is a Quarter-Turn Valve?

A quarter-turn valve is a type of valve that uses a quarter-turn motion of the handle or lever to control the flow of fluid. This type of valve, like ball, butterfly, and plug valves, can differ. These valves are simpler in design and operation as compared to multi-turn valves. Quarter-turn valves typically have a lower torque requirement and are faster to operate than multi-turn valves.

1/4 quarter turn angle shut off valve
1/4 quarter turn angle shut off valve

Ball Valve vs. Quarter Turn Valve: Size Range

Usually, the ball valve is available only in sizes up to 2″, while the quarter-turn valve is available in various sizes ranging from 1/4″ to 4″.

Ball Valve Vs. Quarter Turn Valves

How does the ball valve work?

Replacing the ball valve on the heating pipes
Replacing the ball valve on the heating pipes

A ball valve uses a ball-shaped disc with a hole in the center to maintain fluid flow. The ball is positioned within the valve body. It rotates using a handle or lever to open or close the valve.

When the valve is open, the ball is rotated so that the hole in the ball is aligned with the pipe, allowing fluid to flow through the valve. When the valve is off, the ball is rotated 90 degrees so that the hole in the ball is perpendicular to the pipe, blocking the fluid flow.

The ball in a ball valve is usually made of brass, stainless steel, or chrome-plated brass. However, some types of ball valves have balls made of other materials like PVC or nylon. The valve body is typically made of metal or plastic.

Furthermore, it can provide a tight seal, preventing leakage even at high pressures. Ball valves are also easy to operate, with a simple quarter-turn of the handle or lever enough to open or close the valve. They are often used when precise fluid flow control is needed, such as in water treatment, chemical processing, and natural gas distribution.

How does the quarter-turn valve work?

Quarter-turn valves rotate the valve 90 degrees to open or close the fluid flow. These valves can be of different types, such as ball, butterfly, and plug valves. Still, they all operate using the same basic principle of a quarter-turn motion.

In a ball valve, for example, a ball-shaped disc with a gap in the middle is positioned within the valve body. When the valve is open, the ball is rotated so that the hole in the ball is aligned with the pipe, allowing fluid to flow through the valve. When the ball valve is off, the ball is turned 90 degrees so that the hole in the ball is perpendicular to the pipe, blocking the fluid flow.

In a butterfly valve, a disc is positioned within the valve body that rotates around a central axis to control fluid flow. When the valve is open, the disc is rotated so that it is parallel to the pipe, allowing fluid to flow through the valve. When the valve is off, the disc is rotated 90 degrees perpendicular to the line, blocking the fluid flow.

In a plug valve, a cylindrical or conical plug is positioned within the valve body that rotates to control fluid flow. When the valve is open, the plug is rotated so the fluid can flow through the valve. When the valve is closed, the plug is rotated 90 degrees to block fluid flow.

ball valve and quarter turn valve
Ball valve and quarter turn valve

Ball Valve Vs. Quarter Turn Valve: Types

Ball and quarter-turn valves can be different based on their design and construction. Here are some of the types of each valve:

Types of Ball Valves:

  • Full-port ball valve:

Also known as a full-bore ball valve, this kind of valve has a ball with a bore the same size as the pipe, providing maximum flow with minimum pressure drop.

  • Reduced-port ball valve:
full port vs reduce port
Full port vs reduced port

Also known as a standard-port ball valve, this kind of valve has a ball with a bore smaller than the pipe, causing some restrictions in flow.

  • V-port ball valve: This type of valve has a ball with a V-shaped or contoured bore that provides precise flow control.
  • Trunnion-mounted ball valve:
trunnion mounted ball valve stainless steel
Trunnion-mounted ball valve stainless steel

This type of valve has additional support for the ball to reduce wear and tear on the valve components.

  • Multi-port ball valve: This type of valve has multiple ports that can be used for diverting or mixing flows.

Types of Quarter-turn Valves:

  1. Butterfly valve

A quarter-turn valve that uses a disc with a butterfly shape to control fluid flow.

  • Plug valve
  • Diaphragm valve
  • Needle valve

Quarter Turn Valve Vs. Ball Valve: Durability

Ball valves are known for their high durability and ability to withstand harsh environments. They are typically constructed with metal or plastic components. The ball is often made from stainless steel, brass, or other corrosion-resistant materials. Ball valves have a simple design with few moving parts, making them less likely to wear out or break over time.

Quarter-turn valves also tend to be durable, although their durability can depend on the specific design and construction of the valve. Some quarter-turn valves, such as butterfly valves or diaphragm valves, have components that may be more prone to wear or failure over time.

Quarter Turn Valve vs. Ball Valve: Advantages and Disadvantages

Here’s a chart comparing the advantages and disadvantages of ball valves and quarter-turn valves:

 Ball ValveQuarter-Turn Valve
AdvantagesProvides precise control of fluid flow.Low torque requirement for operation.
 It offers a tight seal, preventing leakage at high pressures.Faster to operate than multi-turn valves.
 Requires little maintenance.It can be used for frequent opening and closing of the valve.
 Durable and long-lasting.Available in a variety of types, suitable for different systems.
DisadvantagesHigher cost compared to some other valve types.Less precise control of fluid flow compared to ball valves.
 It can be more challenging to repair or replace.Not suitable for applications that require a tight seal.
 Not suitable for applications that require a fast-acting valve.Limited range of sizes and materials compared to ball valves.
Specifications

Ball valve vs. Quarter Turn Valve: Repair

When a quarter-turn valve begins to leak, you cannot properly repair it. You have to change it out. When you need a speedy response, this is effective. But not every application answers well to a swift shutdown. You can typically repair parts such as the body, end piece, stem, ball, and other metallic components with minor damage in the ball valve. You can fix it by undercut/coating or welding/machining to rebuild it back to its size. 

ball valve leakage
ball valve leakage

Quarter turn valve vs. ball valve: How to Select?

When selecting between a quarter-turn valve and a ball valve, ensure the valve meets the specific application’s requirements. Here are some key considerations:

  • Type of fluid: Consider the fluid being controlled, including its composition, temperature, pressure, and corrosive or abrasive properties. Choose a valve with compatible construction materials and a suitable pressure rating for the application.
  • Flow requirements: Determine the required flow rate and select a valve with an appropriate bore size and flow coefficient to achieve the desired flow rate with minimal pressure drop.
  • Operating conditions: Consider the operating temperature and pressure range of the system and any variations in temperature or pressure that may occur during operation. Choose a valve with a suitable temperature and pressure rating for the application.
  • End connections: Select valves with end connections that are compatible with the piping system, such as threaded, flanged, or welded connections.
  • Valve actuation: Decide whether the valve will be manually operated or require automated actuation. Consider the necessary type of actuator, such as electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic, and ensure that the valve and actuator are compatible.
  • Maintenance requirements: Consider the maintenance requirements of the valve, including any routine inspections, repairs, or replacement of components. Choose a valve that is easy to maintain and has readily available spare parts.
  • Application requirements: Consider the specific requirements of the application, such as the need for precise flow control, fast valve operation, or resistance to wear and tear. Choose the valve type that best meets these requirements.

What are some common uses for quarter-turn valves?

Quarter-turn valves are commonly used in plumbing applications, such as controlling the flow of water in faucets and toilets, as well as in industrial applications, such as controlling the flow of chemicals and gases.

A quarter-turn valve or a ball valve?

The choice between a quarter-turn valve and a ball valve depends on the specific application and the user’s preferences. In general, ball valves are considered more reliable and durable. In contrast, quarter-turn valves are easier to operate and require less force to turn.

Summary:

Both quarter-turn and ball valves are used in various applications. Quarter-turn valves are more durable and can be utilized in high-pressure applications. Ball valves are less costly and are more straightforward to maintain. When selecting a valve for an application, consider the desired flow rate, the kind of material, and the maximum operating pressure.

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