The end user requires that the incoming flow is under certain conditions and this is ensured by a pressure reducer
The choice and installation of pressure regulators (or pressure reducers) for a hydraulic system is essential. In fact, the water supplied by the public distribution network is often at higher pressure values than what a domestic user actually needs. The reason for this surplus of pressure is the possibility of coping with a sudden increase in demand and ensuring simultaneous supply to several diversified users.
If, on the one hand, having high pressure is an advantage, on the other it can be a problem for the use of the domestic hydraulic system: it can, in fact, cause damage and failures that can cause inconvenience and danger, as well as being expensive to be repaired both from an economic point of view and with reference to the intervention time.
Why use a pressure regulator or reducer?
The use of pressure reducers or regulators reduces the risks mentioned above by reducing both the pressure of the incoming water and making it constant regardless of the connected public network. For this reason these components are fundamental and must be designed and studied to make them more efficient.
The main advantages consist of:
1. Constant and controlled pressure: there are no risks deriving from the opening of the connected taps;
2. Safeguarding the hydraulic system: reducing the pressure and stabilizing it, reduce the problems that can arise from high pressure, especially in the presence of boilers;
3. Reducing the noise of the system: a pressure surge can also provoke loud noises and, through these devices, it is possible to reduce this problem;Minimizing the problem of cavitation: this problem is central in hydraulic systems and is due to the formation of vapor zones. Such bubbles lead to:
- Damage to the components;
- Loss of efficiency of the plant;
- Noise emission
4. Reduction of consumption and savings from an economic point of view.
How do pressure regulators or reducers work?
Usually the pressure regulators or reducers can be either mechanical or electronic. The former have a longer duration than the latter since the operating system is less complex. In fact, they consist of a spring that manages to change the flow rate inside the duct, even if they still need to be controlled by electronic devices: they move the position of the spring in the valve ensuring a constant flow rate over time and, therefore, also constant pressure.
The fundamental parameter in this type of device is the reduction ratio, i.e. the ratio between the pressure at the inlet and outlet of the component. Generally, to avoid the cavitation problems mentioned, multi-stage pressure reducers are used (typically two), thus improving both the life of the system and its efficiency.
The materials of the pressure reducers
The pressure reducers, as described above, are fundamental components within a hydraulic system to allow the regulation of the fluid pressure, avoiding malfunctions that can lead to significant damage to systems and persons located nearby.
An aspect of considerable importance is given by the choice of materials which must have suitable characteristics both in terms of mechanical and environmental properties. In particular, the materials of greatest interest are: - CW617N: it is an alloy belonging to the brass family which combines excellent hot forging characteristics with good machinability on machine tools. It also has good mechanical and corrosion resistance, even under stress. It is used for the main body of the pressure reducer; - Special steels for springs: it must have good characteristics of both toughness and wear resistance to avoid breakage during operation and allow the spring to deform; - EPDM: used for gaskets, it is an elastomer consisting of the polymerization of three different polymers with sulfur and has fundamental characteristics for these types of applications such as mechanical strength and resistance to environmental agents; - VITON: also used for gaskets, it is a fluorinated elastomer which, in addition to the above, has excellent chemical and thermal resistance, allowing high temperature applications.
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