Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

A Modeling Approach to Study the Fluid-Dynamic Forces Acting on the Spool of a Flow Control Valve

[+] Author and Article Information
Emma Frosina

Department of Industrial Engineering,
University of Naples Federico II,
Via Claudio 21,
Naples 80125, Italy
e-mail: emma.frosina@unina.it

Adolfo Senatore

Department of Industrial Engineering,
University of Naples Federico II,
Via Claudio 21,
Naples 80125, Italy
e-mail: senatore@unina.it

Dario Buono

Department of Industrial Engineering,
University of Naples Federico II,
Via Claudio 21,
Naples 80125, Italy
e-mail: darbuono@unina.it

Kim A. Stelson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
111 Church Street S.E.,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: kstelson@umn.edu

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received December 30, 2015; final manuscript received July 17, 2016; published online October 18, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Alfredo Soldati.

J. Fluids Eng 139(1), 011103 (Oct 18, 2016) (12 pages) Paper No: FE-15-1960; doi: 10.1115/1.4034418 History: Received December 30, 2015; Revised July 17, 2016

This paper introduces an approach to study a valve's internal fluid dynamics. During operation, the flow causes forces on the spool. These forces must be correctly balanced. Since these forces cannot be measured, a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling approach is needed. A case study has been undertaken to verify the approach on a two-way pressure compensated flow control valve. Since forces vary during operation, the analysis must be transient. From the initial zero spool position, the flow goes through the valve causing a spool shift inside the valve's housing until the spool stops at its final position. Forces depend on the spring reaction, the inlet pressure force, the pressure force of the fluid inside the spool, and the spring holder volumes, and the balance of forces influences the outlet flow rate at the final spool position. First, the initial case geometry was modeled, prototyped, and tested, and this geometry was studied to verify the model accuracy compared to experimental data. The comparison shows good agreement with a maximum error of 3%. With the same approach, several other geometries were designed, but only the best geometry was prototyped and tested. The model was adopted to make several analyses of velocity contouring, streamlines trends, and pressure distribution in the fluid volume. The modeled and tested results achieved the expected performance confirming the effectiveness of the methodology.

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Fig. 1

Valve computer-aided design (CAD) 3D

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Fig. 3

Binary tree mesh: (a) valve section, (b) spool and body, and (c) moving mesh

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Fig. 4

Mesh sensitivity analysis

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Fig. 10

Second geometry modification on the spool

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Fig. 9

(a) New valve design and (b) new spool design

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Fig. 5

Test bench hydraulic scheme

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Fig. 6

Pressure distribution in the fluid volume: (a) valve section and (b) all fluid volume

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Fig. 7

Typical streamline colored by velocity magnitude inside some spool fluid volume

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Fig. 8

Experimental/model results comparison

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Fig. 11

Streamlines inside the fluid volume

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Fig. 12

Pressure distribution: (a) in a valve section and (b) in the valve fluid volume

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Fig. 13

Pressure inside the top and bottom spool areas

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Fig. 14

Valve fluid volume—forces study

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Fig. 15

Spool shift versus time

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Fig. 16

Spool net fluid on the spool versus time

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Fig. 17

Experimental/model results comparison, case 3



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