In many types of applications, a standard 2 way ball valve is used to allow or shut off the flow of air, gas, steam or a liquid through a pipe. This means the valve has an intake and an outlet side, with the ball valve component in the middle. Opening the valve allows the liquid to flow through from the inlet to the outlet port of the valve and closing it seals the valve and shuts off the flow.
However, a ball valve can also be used to direct the flow of liquid, gas, steam or air through a system. In order to accomplish this, the valve has to be constructed with 3 ports, allowing the ball in the valve to direct the flow between the intake port and the two possible outlet ports. Unlike a traditional 2 way ball valve, the 3 way designed is not for full shut off of the system. If this is required, additional shut off valves can be used upstream from the ball valve on the intake port side.
There are two typical configurations for a 3 way ball valve. The two options are known as the L-Port, which resembles the letter L when the two possible open and channels are at 90 degrees to each other. In other words, the flow comes in the intake port and either turn to the open right or left side.
The T-Port allows for mixing of flows from two inlets or as a direction change for the flow when one inlet is open. In addition, the T-Port configuration allows for the 3 way ball valve to operate as a 2 way ball valve, allowing for pass-through of the flow when the third port is closed.
The benefits of the 3 way ball valve include the ability to mix flows or to redirect flows quickly and easily through a system.
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