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Illustration of valves
Credit: Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Valves

Valves perform a vital function in controlling fluid flow through a pipe or tubing

by Lab Manager
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Valves perform a vital function in controlling fluid flow through a pipe or tubing and come in a grand array of sizes, materials of construction, controls, and precision. Simple valves are used to open or close the tube for flow. More sophisticated valves can regulate the amount of flow by controlling the size of the aperture through which the fluid is allowed to pass. Some computer-controlled valves can deliver high accuracy and precision of flow for experiments involving multi-flow reactors. For a list of valve manufacturers, see our online directory:

7 Questions to Consider When Buying Valves:

  1. How will the fluid’s properties affect the valve specifications needed?
  2. What is the size of the pipe or tubing?
  3. What is the fluid pressure?
  4. What level of flow control is required?
  5. What valve material is required to be compatible with the fluid?
  6. How many valves are needed?
  7. Do you need a backup valve in case of failure?

Safety Tip

Train your lab staff to always turn off valves—whether they be on gas cylinders, fume hoods, sinks, or anything else—immediately after using them. At best, it is wasteful. At worst, it can cause a serious safety incident.

DIY Leak Detection

Not sure which valve a pinhole leak is coming from? One-by-one, cover the valves in foaming hand soap and observe the pressure. The soap will temporarily plug the leak. If the pressure builds back up to normal levels once a particular valve is immersed in soap, that is the one to replace.