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Valve MA G A Z I N E
I
n addition to all the other guidelines
and standards associated with valve
designand control valves in particu-
larwe should also review jet energy
levels. By making sure the fluid jet
exiting from the valve trim is con-
trolled, we ensure a good control valve
application. Maintaining manageable
energy levels in the fluid jets elimi-
nates what happens because of vibra-
tion, erosion, cavitation, noise, and
other factors that ultimately lead to a
poor process control valve.
The following discussion presents
data on about 500 problem valves for
which only the valve trim was retrofit-
ted. The original valve designs did not
adequately reduce the fluid jets
energy as it passed through the throt-
tling area of the trim. New trim was
designed to control the jet energy and
limit energy of the fluid within cer-
tain limits as it exited the trim. These
limits were first published in 1997,
Reference 1, and later included in
ISAs Practical Guides for Measure-
ment and Control, Reference 2. Oper-
ating the same valve body with the
retrofitted trim but under the same
operating conditions eliminated the
problems associated with the original
valve trims.
FLUID JET ENERGY CRITERION FOR
CONTROL
VALVES
The Trim Exit Energy Criterion
An energy approach combines the influ-
ence of fluid density with the velocity of
the jet exiting a valve trim. This is
defined as follows:
KE =
V
2
2M
Where: M =100,000 for Metric or
4,636.8 for Imperial units
KE is in bar or psi
V is in m/s or ft/s
r is in kg/m
3
or lb/ft
3
The equation expresses, in the form
of kinetic energy density, the energy of
the jets exiting the trim. This has the
same units as pressure and is sometimes
called the dynamic pressure. Since most
flow through the valve trim is highly
turbulent, the measurement is based on
the average velocity and density of the
fluid jets exiting the trim. To ensure the
control valve operates without prob-
lems, valve trim should be designed to
meet an average kinetic energy criterion
of 70 psi (4.85 bar) or lower. (Refer-
ences 2, 3 and 4 provide more detail on
how a user can make the calculation
meaningful.)
The pressure drop across a valve
drives the fluid though the trim. The
valves closure member will control the
rate of flow, but not the fluids velocity
through the trim. The only way to lower
the fluid velocity through the trim for
any given driving pressure drop is to
add resistance to the trims flow path. In
one valve type, shown in Figure 1, right
angle turns to the flow path provide
extra resistance until the energy dictated
by the outlet velocity and density is at
the desired level. Many valve suppliers
now provide similar types of trims. An
example would be concentric drilled-hole
cages in which the number of cages are
THE AUTHORS PRESENT THE RESULTS OF
TESTING DONE ON 500 PROBLEM CONTROL
VALVES WITH RETROFITTED TRIM.THEY
CONCLUDE THAT MAINTAINING
MANAGEABLE ENERGY LEVELS IN THE
FLUID JETS HELPS ENSURE GOOD
CONTROL VALVE PERFORMANCE.
BY HERBERT L. MILLER, P.E.,
LAURENCE R. STRATTON,
AND MARK A. HOLLERBACH
AS SEEN IN THE SPRING 2006 ISSUE OF...
2006 Valve Manufacturers Association. Reprinted with permission.

defined by fluid resistance needed to
slow the exiting jet to a desired level.
Results of Retrofits
Implementing the energy criteria on
about 140 unique valve applications
revealed some interesting data. Each
application was handled by one or more
identical control valves and because of
numerous problems, about 500 valves
were retrofitted. Data on one or more
specified operating conditions was
reviewed for each of the unique applica-
tions. Problematic symptoms expressed
by the users were broken down into cat-
egories, with each application averaging
about two major problems.
Figure 2 shows the major problems
the original valves put into service expe-
rienced with inadequate control of the
fluid energy exiting the valve trim. The
most significant issues driving cus-
tomers to make the retrofit changes
were controllability, erosion, and vibra-
tion. Some problems listed as Other
included frequent maintenance, galling,
plugging, and lack of vendor support.
Industry design standards address the
issues of capacity and noise, and recom-
mendations address cavitation. How-
ever, this retrofit study showed that
more work needs to be done to address
all the symptoms and that the key is to
control the fluid trim exit energy.
A diverse range of valve designs were
retrofit from more than 25 different
manufacturers. Those designs included
most sizes and the common operating
pressures encountered, from 1 inch to 36
inches (25 mm to 900 mm). Figure 3
illustrates the distribution of inlet pres-
sures encountered in the retrofit data-
base. The minimum and maximum inlet
pressures in the database range from 60
psi to 5840 psi (4 bar to 402 bar).
Figure 4 shows energy of the fluid
exiting the original valve trim and the
rank from highest to lowest level of
energy control trim. It also shows the
dramatic energy reduction from the
failed original trim to a level that
ensures a good control valve applica-
tion. The average reduction in kinetic
energy was from 480 psi to 44 psi (33
bar to 3 bar). The maximum kinetic
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Valve MA G A Z I N E
F L U I D J E T E N E R G Y C R I T E R I O N
Figure 1. Energy control trim
Figure 2.Trim energy-related valve problems
Other
15.1%
Controllability
21.5%
Erosion
12.9%
Vibration
12.6%
Leakage
12.4%
Noise
9.7%
Cavitation
5.6%
Capacity
4.9%
Stem break or
separation 5.3%
Figure 3. Retrofit inlet pressure applications
Figure 4. Energy before and after retrofit
All Fluid Cases
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
200
150
100
50
0
1 101 201 301 401
Cases
Original Trim
Energy Control Trim
K
i
n
e
t
i
c
E
n
e
r
g
y
,
p
s
i
K
E
,
b
a
r
90%
4.85 70
2006 Valve Manufacturers Association. Reprinted with permission.
energy was 3280 psi (226 bar), which
is almost 50 times the recommended
criterion. With these high energy lev-
els, it is not surprising that much dam-
age was occurring in the control valve
and associated piping. Figure 4
includes both liquid and gas applica-
tions (see Reference 5 for additional
detail), while Figure 5 shows the
breakdown of liquid and gas applica-
tions, and valves.
Figures 6 and 7 present the flow
cases for liquid and gas conditions,
respectively. In these figures the energy
control trim values are shown superim-
posed on the energy level for the original
trim, which illustrates the magnitude of
reduction in the retrofitted trim energy
levels for each flow case.
A few cases where original trim met
the energy criterion but the valves were
still retrofit existed for both liquid and
gas categories. In almost all cases, there
were other flow conditions in which
energy exceeded the criterion of 70 psi
(4.85 bar).
There were also a few cases in which
the energy level exceeded the 70 psi
(4.85 bar) criterion even after retrofit
instances in which the criterion could
not be met because of valve body space
limitations. However, the judgment to
proceed was made after review of the
application and significant reduction in
trim exit energy for each retrofit.
The fact that a few cases existed in
which the kinetic energy exceeded the
criterion would suggest that 70 psi
(4.85 bar) is not a hard rule. The data
demonstrates some validity to this pos-
sibility; however, during the original
valve procurement, incremental costs
to achieve the criterion were small
when compared to risk. History and
experience dictate some applications
in which the rule should not be
exceeded will exist under any circum-
stances. These exceptions would
include applications handling mixed-
phase fluids and/or entrained particles.
Another significant finding was that
many of the problems occurred when
valves were partially opened. When a
valve is partially open, fluid energies
through the trim are high while fluid
energies through the rest of the valve
body are low. This demonstrates that
designing larger valve bodies is not the
answer to solving the problems.
Figures 4, 6, and 7 show the bene-
fits of controlling the fluid jet energy
exiting the valve trim. Failing valves
were transformed into designs that
met the applications control needs
just by minimizing this energy to 70
psi (4.85 bar).
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Valve MA G A Z I N E
F L U I D J E T E N E R G Y C R I T E R I O N
Figure 6. Energy before and after for the liquid cases
Figure 5. Breakdown of designs and valves by
fluid type
Retrofit Database
DESIGNS %
Liquid designs 64
Gas designs 36
VALVES %
Liquid Valves 70
Gas Valves 30
Figure 7. Energy before and after for the gas cases
All Liquid Cases
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
200
150
100
50
0
1 101 201
Cases
Original Trim
Energy Control Trim
K
i
n
e
t
i
c
E
n
e
r
g
y
,
p
s
i
K
E
,
b
a
r
90%
4.85 70
All Gas Cases
2000
1500
1000
500
0
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
1 11 21 31 41 51 61 71 81 91 101 111 121 131
Cases
Original Trim
Energy Control Trim
K
i
n
e
t
i
c
E
n
e
r
g
y
,
p
s
i
K
E
,
b
a
r
94%
4.85
70
2006 Valve Manufacturers Association. Reprinted with permission.
Conclusion
This study showed that the very high
kinetic energy levels of the original
designs caused repeated failures before
the valves were finally retrofitted. How-
ever, these failures were transformed
into successful installations for a wide
range of designs, applications and condi-
tions, a range that would represent a sta-
tistically significant portion of the
control valve industry. The success was
achieved by making only one change to
the original design. That change was to
insert a trim that reduced the fluid jet
energy exiting the valve trim, a trim
designed with a criterion of 70 psi (4.85
bar) kinetic energy density for the fluid
exiting the trim. By applying this addi-
tional design criterion to the valve trim
design, valves are less likely to provide
poor control, require extensive mainte-
nance, and experience damage.
The fact that an industry standard for
this energy criterion does not yet exist
does not mean there shouldnt be one
created in light of the many control valve
problems encountered in the field. How-
ever, an industry standard will not
become a reality until users insist that
valve suppliers look at the fluid energy
leaving the valve trim. What occurred
from retrofitting so many valves in this
case is strong evidence that when the
energy of the trim jets is ignored, we risk
having a poor control valve application;
the cost of not paying attention to the jet
energy can be very high.
Valve users and specification writers
have a responsibility to make the best
decisions for procuring a control valve
that will do the job at the lowest cost.
Looking at the energy criterion not only
minimizes the risk of a problem valve
that would lead to a system problem and
higher total costs, it also provides a
means of comparing different design and
supplier options.VM
HERBERT L. MILLER, P.E. is a consultant based in
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; 949.858.1877;
hlm@ccivalve.com. LAURENCE R. STRATTON is man-
ager,Technical Standards and Automation, and
MARK A. HOLLERBACH is engineering manager for
Control Components Inc. (www.ccivalve.com),
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. Reach Stratton at
949.888.4136; lrs@ccivalve.com. Reach Holler-
bach at 949.888.4137; mah@ccivalve.com.
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Valve MA G A Z I N E
F L U I D J E T E N E R G Y C R I T E R I O N
REFERENCES:
1. Miller, H. L., Stratton, L. R., Fluid Kinet-
ic Energy as a Selection Criteria for Con-
trol Valves, ASME Fluids Engineering
Division, Summer Meeting, Paper
FEDSM97-3464, Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada, June 22-26, 1997.
Published in Valve World, Volume 2, Issue
3, pg. 51-57, August 1997, KCI Publish-
ing B.V., Zutphen, Netherlands.
2. Control Valves Practical Guides for Measure-
ment and Control, Guy Borden, Jr. Editor,
International Society for Measurement
and Control, Research Triangle Park, NC,
Chapter 12 Control Valve Applications,
pg. 411-447, 1998.
3. Liu, Gerald, Miller, Herbert L., Stratton,
Laurence R., Establishing Control Valve
Trim Flow Velocity, ISA EXPO 2004,
Paper ISA04-P211, The Instrument,
Systems and Automation Society,
Research Triangle Park, NC, Houston,
Oct. 5-7, 2004.
4. Steinke, Joseph, Multi-Stage Control
Valve Analysis, ISA Calgary 2005, The
Instrument, Systems and Automation
Society, Research Triangle Park, NC, Cal-
gary, April 13-14, 2005
5. Miller, H. L., Stratton, L. R., Hollerbach,
M. A., The Case for a Kinetic Energy
Criterion in Control Valves Part 1,
ISA EXPO 2005, Paper ISA 2005-
P133, The Instrument, Systems and
Automation Society, Research Triangle
Park, NC, Chicago, Oct. 25-27, 2005.
All righIs reserved. SoluIiohs
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2006 Valve Manufacturers Association. Reprinted with permission.