A Special Kind of Flow Control Valve: The Poppet Valve

steam engine train

A poppet valve is a type of flow control valve that uses a ball and seat instead of a traditional spool. People don’t realise that their vehicles use a poppet valve as a directional valve every day when they drive to work. Without a poppet valve, a vehicle’s combustion engine wouldn’t be able to function.

How does a poppet valve work?

A poppet valve is associated with the application of pressure control. They are directional or flow control valves and are usually identified as fast-acting or high flow valves. This is because of the extensive flow paths through the main body of the valve. Poppet valves have the characteristics of being able to open up quickly, making them perfect for use in engines. 

The valve’s working principle

Imagine your sink and the poppet valve is the plug. When you remove the plug, the opening is large, and the flow path opens rapidly. The large opening of a poppet valve allows anything through the valve easily and quickly. A poppet valve is generally made of a flat disk of metal with a long rod. This is called the valve stem. The stem pushes down on the valve to open it, and there is usually a spring to close it when the stem is not being pushed down. Depending on the type of poppet valve, the stem can be moved by various actuators such as pilot, manual, mechanical, or solenoid. It also depends on the application at hand.

Valve design and usage

Most common types of poppet valves have a mushroom-shaped head and a slender stem. They are mostly used in engines. When used in a piston engine, they work by opening and closing the exhaust ports and intake in the cylinder head. The engine manoeuvres the valves by pushing down on the stems with cam followers. The valve life, as well as how slowly or quickly the valve opens up, is determined by the position and shape of the cam follower.

A poppet valve acts as a check valve, with the ability to allow free flows. For specific configurations, poppet valves can direct flows to ports on the valve body like traditional flow control valves. Utilising poppet valves in your pneumatic or hydraulic circuits allows you to have the features of a check valve, and with the versatility of a directional valve.

Master Mac 2000

Master Mac 2000 has been the top distributor of Univer valves and sub-bases since 1984. Univer’s high standard for pneumatic valves and flow control valve components can come with either mixed or spool systems for heavy applications or other applications. Contact MasterMac2000 today for more information or call 07 3344 4711.

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