How & Why Are Butterfly Valves Used?

A butterfly valve is an essential component in many industries especially in the automobile sector. These valves are known collectively as quarter-turn valves. The name quarter-turn valve stems from the fact that the valve opens or closes when the handle is turned at a 90 degree angle.


Butterfly valves are made of a metal disc called a butterfly mounted on a rod. When the valve is closed, the disc closes the passageway completely. Opening the valve makes the disc move a quarter turn to allow the opening of the passageway so that fluid or air passes through.


Butterfly valves come in various forms. The operation of resilient butterfly valves is determined by the flexibility of the rubber. The pressure rating for this type of butterfly valve is the lowest. High-performance butterfly valves have an offset mounted disc. This feature allows the valve to provide a better sealing and wear less, which makes them suitable for use in high-pressure systems. Another type of butterfly valve used in high-pressure systems is the tri-centric butterfly valve, which has a metal seat to withstand high pressures.


Butterfly valves are used in many aspects. The most common use is in the making of various parts in an automobile including carburetors and pedals. Car pedals control engine air intake when pressed or released. When the pedal of a car is pressed, air and gasoline mix and go into the combustion chamber through the intake valve where they ignite.

Ships use butterfly vales because they are small, lightweight, durable and are suitable for oily and salty conditions. They also work well with fresh water and are common in firefighting devices like hoses.

Components of a butterfly valve

Butterfly valves consist of relatively flat circular plates with rods running through their diameter. The circular shape of the plates creates a perfect seal with pipes. The rod runs out of the pipe allowing a turning mechanism, which in turn rotates the circular valve plate.

How Butterfly Valves Control Flow

Butterfly valves can only rotate to a maximum angle of 90 degrees. A quarter turn of the valve from a sealed position makes its face to rest perpendicular to the direction of flow in the pipe. This means whatever is flowing in the pipe, moves most easily across the face of the valve because the valve is not sealed.

When the valve is sealed, the face of the valve faces a direction parallel to the flow in the pipe. This blocks the flow completely. The closing and opening of the valve is determined by a direct or indirect manipulation of the valve’s turning mechanism.


The use of butterfly valves has many benefits. In general, they are more affordable than other types of valves. They also have few parts making them durable and reliable. In addition, butterfly valves have a simple design, which makes them easy to maintain. Finally, butterfly vales can withstand wide temperature changes.


The greatest drawback of butterfly valves is their inability to remove residual substances completely because of their design. Corrosive or abrasive materials easily wear down butterfly valves. Lastly, proper installation of butterfly valves requires expertise.

Valves control of the flow of material in a pipe by opening, closing or partially obstructing the pipe or other passageway. Butterfly valves are the best option in various applications.

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