US 3591134 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Katsuji Fujiwara 191 Neshitani, Hiraoka-cho, Japan Appl No 835,077 Filed June 20, 1969 Patented July 6, 1971 Priority July 14, 1968, July 18, 1968, Aug. 7, 1968,
Aug. 9, 1968, Aug. 23, 1968, Aug. 30, 1968, Nov. 18, 1968, Jan. 14,1969 Japan 43/49486, 43/511804, 43/55914, 43/515848,
43/60604, 43/62615, 43/84297 and 44/3652 BALL VALVE 6 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 25l/l75, 251/172, 251/174, 251/185, 251/288 Int. Cl F1611 5/20 Field of Search 251/163, 174,175,177,l83,185, 288
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,039,220 4/1936 Heggem 251/175 2,675,207 4/1954 Mueller 251/288 2,973,182 2/1961 Gill 251/174 3,228,652 1/1966 Antrim 251/175 2,514,551 7/1950 Monroe 251/175 X Primary Examinerl-1arold W. Weakley Attorney-Eugene E. Geoffrey, Jr.
ABSTRACT: A ball valve having a valve body with inlet and outlet openings, a ball-shaped valve disposed within said body and having an opening extending therethrough, valve-operating means including a handle engaging the ball-shaped valve to rotate the ball from the open to closed positions. The ball-- SHEET 2 OF 5 .0 iii:
A Ni: V
PATENTEUJLIL slsn sum 5 OF 5 Fig.7
BALL VALVE This invention relates to valves and more specifically to a novel and improved ball valve for controlling the flow of fluids.
In prior known ball valves, the valving means firmly engages valve seats at both the inlet and outlet ports and is in pressure contact therewith. Accordingly, relatively high torques are required for rotating the valve body to control the flow of fluid. In order tocreate substantial pressure between the ball valve and the cooperating seats, the valveseats embodied complicated structures and included such relatively hard materials such as Teflon and elastic rubber gaskets for urging the valve seats against the ball. The manufacture and assembly of such seats and the installation of the ball valve is tedious and time consuming and'results in a material increase in the cost of the valve. Furthermore, such prior known ball valves have required the use of arelatively long operating lever in orderto facilitate rotation of the valve and correspondingly heavy stops were required to limit rotational movement of the ball valve. 1 This invention has as one of its objects the provision of a novel and improved ball valve which enables rotation of the ball by the application of arelatively small torque and em bodies a simplified construction which greatly facilitates manufacture and assembly of the completed valve. This is attained through the utilization of a ball-shaped valve which is freely movable within the housing and a valve seat associated with the outlet port so that the fluid pressure from the inlet port will function as back pressure when the valve is in the closed position. With this arrangement the ball valve will firmly contact the valve seat and completely interrupt the flow of fluid.
Another object of the invention resides in the provision of a novel and improved ball valve embodying a simplified housing which greatly facilitates operation and maintenance of the structure. By reason of the utilization of a ball-shaped valve within the housing, which is freely movable therein, a relatively small operating handle can be employed with the result that a simplifiedform of rotation-limitingmeans may be employed.
A still further object of the invention resides in a novel and improved ball valve embodying means for lightly urging the ball-shaped valve against the cooperating valve seat. Since a light spring or other resilientmeans having a force merely sufficient' to-support the ball-shaped valve and urgeit in contact with the cooperating seat, the increase in torque is negligible, and the valve will always remain in the closed position even though the fluid pressure at the inlet side of the valve approaches zero. 1
Still another object of the invention resides in the provision of a ball valve having a freely movable ball-shaped valve member within a housing and an operating handle fixed against longitudinal motion relative to the housing and engaging the ball-shaped valve member. In this way any force applied to the handle will not cause displacement of the ball from the valve seat.
A still further object of the invention resides in the provision of a novel and improved ball valve and operating means for rotation of the ball within the valve housing wherein the operating means for rotation of the ball is frictionally retained in position by fluid pressure to prevent accidental rotation of the operating means.
Still another object'of the invention resides in the provision of a novel and improved ball valve characterized by its simplicity, ease of manufacture and operation, and high degree of dependability.
The above and other objects of the invention will become moreappar'ent from the following description and accompanying drawings forming part of this application.
In the drawings: v.
FIG. I is apl'anview of a ball va ve in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional viewv of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 thereof;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 2 taken. along the line 3-3 thereof;
valve in the open position; Q
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective'view of the-valve illustrated in FIGS. lthrough 4; N
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG.. 2 and illustrating a-modified embodiment ofthe invention;
FIG. 7 is-a cross-sectional view ofa ball valve similar to FIG. 2 and illustrating'a still further modification ofthe, invention;
F IG. 8 is anenlargedview of a' fragmentary section of; FIG. 7 and showing the relationship of the valve seat and ball-shaped valve;.and
FIG. 9is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4 and illustrating a still further embodimentof the invention.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, the numeral 1 denotes a valve housing having an inlet port 2.and an outlet port 3 and a valve chamber 4 disposed between the ports. A ball-shaped valve member 5 is provided with a central opening 6- which communicates with the inlet and outlet ports 2 and 3 when the .valve is in the open position. The ball-shaped valve member 5 is freely movable withinthe chamber 4, and a valve seat 7 surrounds the inner edge of the outlet port 3. A second valve seat 8 is disposed about the inner edge of the inlet port 2 and a helical spring 9 is disposed between the inlet port 2 and the ball.- shaped valve member-5. The spring is in a slightly compressed state so that it will tend to urge the ball 5 against the valve seat 7. I
Rotation of the ball 5 is effected by a valve operating stem I0- whichcarries an operating handle 12 on the upper end thereof. The handle 12 has a rectangular opening therein which engages a rectangular portion 11 on the upper end of thestem and the handle is fixed to the stern by a bolt 15 engages a threaded opening 13 in the upper end of the valve stem. The lower end of the valve stem 10 is provided with a rectangularly shaped key 19 which engages a slot 20 in the top of the ball 5 to permit the stem to impart'angular rotation to the ball. Angular rotation of the stem 10 is limited by a member 16 having a slot 18 which slidably engages the rectangular key 19. The'member 16 may be welded or otherwise secured in position on the valve stem and functions to engage the inner face 17 of the casing or housing 1 as shown more clearly in FIG. 5. When the valve stem is rotated in one direction, the ball 5 assumes the position as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 so that the opening 6 does not communicate with the inlet and outlet ports. In this position the ball engages the seat 7 to close the valve. When the valve stem is rotated through an angle of approximately the ball 5 assumes the position shown for instance in FIG. 4 which permits the free flow of fluid through the valve.
The valve stem 10 is held in position on the valve by a cap 21 having a central opening. extending therethrough. The upper portion of the opening is substantially cylindrical and the stem 10 is provided with an annular groove to receive an O-ring 22 to seal the stem 10in the cap 21. The lower portion 26 of the opening in the cap 21 is tapered downwardly and outwardly and receives a corresponding tapered portion 23 on the valve stem. The outer portion of the cap 21 has a threaded section for engaging threads 29 in the valve body to securely hold the valve stem in position.
With the foregoing arrangement, the pressure of the fluid being controlled by the-valve will react against the bottom end of the valve stem 10 and tend to urge it upwardly. In so doing the corresponding tapers 23 and 26 on the stem 10 and cap 21, respectively, are tightly engaged by the fluid pressure within the chamber and prevent rotation of the valve stem by vibration or other causes. Furthermore, the utilization of the tapered construction cooperates with the O-ring 22 to provide a more effective seal. A sleeve 24 is placed over the stem 10 between the handle 12 and the cover or cap 21 so that the stem 10 cannot accidentally be pushed downwardly and FIG; 4' is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 2. showing the thereby displace the ball particularly when the valve is in the closed position.
When the ball is in the closed position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the fluid pressure present in the inlet port 2 cooperates with the spring 9 and finnly urges the ball 5 against the seat 7 to completely block the outlet port 3. The spring 9 will maintain the ball 5 in intimate contact with the valve seat 7 even under conditions wherein the fluid pressure at the inlet is low and has insufficient magnitude to hold the ball 5 against the seat 7. Furthermore, since the spring 9 will exert only that force necessary to counter the weight of the ball 5, the ball can be easily rotated by the handle 12. If the valve is in the closed position and the fluid pressure at the outlet port 3 increases for any reason so that a substantially high pressure differential exists, the ball 5 may be urged away from the seat 7 and against the force of the spring 9. However, under these conditions the ball 5 will move into contact with the valve seat 8 and reverse flow of the fluid will be prevented.
The utilization of the sleeve 24 to support the weight of the handle 12 and the stem prevents displacement of the ball 5 when it is in the closed position, and this also enables the strength of the spring 9 to be maintained at a low magnitude and yet effect intimate contact of the ball 5 with the seat 7. Furthermore, by reason of the construction of the cap 21 and its cooperation with the valve stem 10, lateral forces applied to the valve stem 10 will not cause displacement of the ball 5 when in the closed position which would result in leakage of the fluid through the outlet port.
As previously pointed out, prior known ball valves are arranged to firmly hold the ball in contact with the valve seats at both the inlet and outlet ports. As a result, relatively high torques are required to rotate the ball and for this purpose a relatively long operating lever is required. With this invention, however, the ball can be rotated with a relatively small torque and therefore a relatively small handle is sufficient for the purpose. This constitutes a material advantage since the operating handle can be essentially circular in shape, is easily operated, and the casing or housing can be relatively small. Furthermore, in the case of valves utilizing flanges at the inlet and outlet ports for the attachment of pipes thereto, the distance between the flanges can be shortened with the result that less material is required and the cost of the product is reduced. Furthermore, in the case of prior valves requiring relatively large operating handles, the valve casing or housing had to be made relatively heavy to stand the greatly increased stresses. With this invention, however, relatively small, light casings may be employed since only light torques are required for rotation of the ball and rotation limiting means can also be reduced in size and strength.
A modified embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 6. In this embodiment the ball 5 is flattened on one side 31 so that the flattened portion is substantially parallel to the axis of the hole 6. The ball 5 is retained in the valve chamber 4 so that the surface 31 faces the inlet port 2 when the valve is in the normally closed position. Since rotation of the ball 5 is limited by the member 16, the flattened portion 31 can never be moved to a position facing the outlet port 3.
The valve shown in FIG. 6 greatly facilitates the assembly and disassembly of the structure. In the assembly of the structure, the valve seat 7 is first installed about the outlet port 3 and the valve body 5 is then inserted in the chamber 4 with the flattened face 31 directed toward the outlet 3. Even though the portion 17 of the valve housing or casing extends into the upper portion of the valve chamber 4, the flattened portion 31 of the ball 5 will permit it to be moved into place in the chamber 4 without any difficulty. Thereafter, the ball is rotated within the chamber 4 through an angle of 90 or 180 whereupon the cover or cap 21 and the stem 10 may be installed. To disassemble the valve, the stem 10 and cap 21 are removed and the ball is then rotated to bring the surface 21 in facing relationship with the outlet port 3 whereupon the ball 5 ran hp paeilu rpmnvnd In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 7, a ring 41 is positioned between the ball 5 and the spring 9 to prevent the surface of the ball from being scratched by the spring 9, and at the same time facilitating rotation of the ball 5 while the pressure of the spring 9 is applied thereto.
An enlarged view of the ring 41 is shown in FIG. 8. The ring 41 has a beveled face 42 which slidably engages the ball 5 and is of L-shaped section to provide a face 43 for receiving and engaging the spring 9. By properly dimensioning the ring 41 relative to the ball 5, a portion of the ball will protrude through the ring 41 .so that it can engage the valve seat 8. With this arrangement, it is desirable to make the outer diameter 45 of the valve seat 8 somewhat less than the inside diameter 44 of the ring 41 and to provide a flange on the valve seat 8 with an offset portion 46 to engage and hold the spring 9. The spring 9 should also be formed so that when in the compressed position it will permit the ball 5 to intimately contact and engage the valve seat 8.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 7 the sleeve 24 as illustrated for instance in FIG. 1 is omitted and in place thereof the stem 10 is provided with an annular groove for receiving a snap ring 47. The snap ring effectively prevents any downwardly motion of the valve stem.
A further embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 9. In this embodiment a valve seat 51 slidably engages a corresponding opening axially aligned with the inlet port 2 and is sealed by an O'ring 52 to prevent leakage between the valve seat and the inlet port. The spring 9 is disposed between the inner surface of the valve seat 51 and the inner end of the inlet port 2 to constantly urge the valve seat 51 against the ball 5. With this arrangement the ball 5 is always held against the valve seat 7 by the valve seat 51. When the valve is in the closed position, fluid cannot leak through the valve and even under conditions where the pressure at the outlet port exceeds the pressure at the inlet port. In addition, retention of the spring 9 between the valve seat 51 and the inner edge of the inlet port 2 prevents displacement of the spring and at the same time prevents the ball from being scratched or damaged in any way.
The embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 9 also includes a substantially cylindrical valve stem having an enlarged annular portion at the lower end thereof. This annular portion has an inclined annular groove adjoining the valve stem and the cap 21 has a corresponding annular groove of reverse configuration. A gasket 53 is retained in these cooperating grooves and functions together with the O-ring 22 to seal the valve and hold the stem in position. Thus the need for the tapered portions 23 and 26 as shown for instance in the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 5 may be avoided.
What I claim is:
l. A ball valve comprising a housing having a chamber therein and an inlet port and an outlet port communicating with said chamber, a ball-shaped valve within said chamber andhaving a hole extending thercthrough, a valve seat surrounding the outlet port and cooperating with said ball-shaped valve to close the outlet port, a valve stem rotatably carried by and extending through said housing, the inner end of said stern engaging said ball-shaped valve and the outer end carrying operating means, said ball-shaped valve being freely retained within said chamber and movable to one position by rotation of said stem to align said opening with the inlet and outlet ports and movable to another position wherein said opening is out of alignment with said ports, said ball-shaped valve in said other position being urged against said outlet port by fluid pressure at said inlet port, a valve seat within said chamber and surrounding said inlet port, the last said valve seat being spaced from said ball-shaped valve when the latter is in contact with said outlet port valve seat, said ball-shaped valve engaging said inlet valve seat should the fluid pressure at the outlet port be greater than the fluid pressure at the inlet port.
2. A ball valve according to claim 1 including spring means between said hall-shaped valve and said bodv. said snrinn means being operable to urge said ball against said outlet port prises a sleeve surrounding said stein and extending from said handle to the plane of emergence of saidstem from said hous- 6. A ball valve according to claim 1 wherein a portion of said stern has a conical divergent taper and said housing portion surrounding said stern having a corresponding tapered portion, said tapered portions being forced into contact one with the other by the fluid pressure within said chamber.