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Title:
BALL VALVE WITH IMPROVED VALVE SEAT AND BONNET ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1998/039588
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A ball valve for controlling fluid flow comprises a housing (10, 12) with a chamber (18) therein and a fluid flow passage (15) therethrough having an inlet portion (24) and outlet portion (26) to and from the chamber (18) adjacent the lower end of the housing (10, 12), and generally annular recesses (50) extending about the inlet and outlet ends of its inlet and outlet portions. A valve member (14) is rotatably seated in the chamber (18). Body seats (43) are removably seated in the annular recesses (50) of the chamber (18) and valve seats are removably seated in the body seats (43).

Inventors:
Siver, Chester A. (Unit 503, 1 Seaside Lane Belleair, FL, 34616, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1998/004207
Publication Date:
September 11, 1998
Filing Date:
March 02, 1998
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CONVAL, INC. (265 Field Road, Somers, CT, 06071, US)
International Classes:
F16K5/06; F16K41/04; F16K43/00; (IPC1-7): F16K5/06; F16K41/04; F16K43/00
Foreign References:
US3586289A
US3445087A
US3697043A
US4802652A
US5531244A
Other References:
See also references of EP 0965011A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Costas, Peter L. (Pepe & Hazard LLP, Goodwin Square 225 Asylum Stree, Hartford CT, 06103, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:
1. A valve for controlling fluid flow and having open and closed positions comprising: (a) a housing providing a chamber therewithin and a fluid flow passage therethrough, with inlet and outlet portions to and from said chamber adjacent the lower end of said housing, said housing also having an opening in its upper end communicating with said chamber, and generally annular recesses extending about said inlet and outlet ends of said inlet and outlet portions; (b) a bonnet on said housing sealing said opening in said upper end and having a passage extending therethrough from said chamber, said bonnet passage including a shoulder extending thereabout; (c) means fastening said bonnet to said housing; (d) a valve member rotatably seated in said chamber and having an axis of rotation aligned with the center of said opening in said housing and said valve member having (i) a lower portion including means for permitting fluid flow between said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage into and from said chamber in the open position of said valve, and means for restricting fluid flow between said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage in the closed position of said valve; and (ii) an upper portion; (e) generally annular body seats seated in said annular recesses and extending about said inlet and outlet ends of said flow passage, said body seats having a concave seating surface on their end disposed towards said chamber; (f) generally annular valve seats seated on said concave seating surfaces of said body seats and extending about said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage, said valve seats including a concave sealing surface in sealing engagement with the surface of said lower portion of said ball member, said valve seats having convex seating surfaces slidably seated on said concave surfaces of said body seats; (g) a cylindrical valve stem extending within said bonnet passage operatively connected at one end to said upper portion of said valve member for rotating said valve member about its axis of rotation between said open and closed positions of said valve, said valve stem having a portion disposed outwardly of said housing at its other end; (h) means for rotating said valve stem; (i) resiliently deflectable means in said bonnet passage about said valve stem; (j) a first annular sealing member in said bonnet passage disposed about said valve stem and against said shoulder; (k) a collar extending about said valve stem within said bonnet passage and disposed below and against said first annular sealing member; (1) a second annular sealing member in said bonnet passage disposed below and against said collar; and (m) a packing gland in said bonnet passage disposed about said valve stem below and against said second annular sealing member, said resiliently deflectable means biasing said packing gland against said second sealing member and thereby said collar against said first sealing member.
2. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said valve seats include a groove extending about the circumference thereof and providing means for biasing said concave sealing surface against the surface of said ball member.
3. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said fluid flow passage through said ball member is of generally anticlinal configuration.
4. A valve in accordance with Claim 3 wherein said fluid flow passage through said ball member is of generally inverted Ushaped configuration and wherein the axes of said valve seats and body seats are oriented at an angle of 45O to the axis of rotation of said ball member.
5. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said resiliently deflectable means in said bonnet passage comprise at least one resiliently deflectable annular member.
6. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said valve stem is integral with said valve member.
7. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said valve stem is a separate element and is coupled to said valve member by a coupler therebetween.
8. A valve in accordance with Claim 7 wherein said coupler is axially movable relative to said stem and said resiliently deflectable means also biases said coupling member and thereby said valve member downwardly in said chamber.
9. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said shoulder in said bonnet passage is adjacent the upper end of said bonnet.
10. A valve in accordance with Claim 1 wherein said valve stem is a separate member and wherein there are included an annular member in said bonnet passage engaged with said bonnet and second resiliently deflectable means in said bonnet passage disposed against the lower surface of said annular member and bearing on said valve member to bias it downwardly in said chamber, said first mentioned resiliently deflectable means being disposed on the upper surface of said annular member.
11. In a ball valve for controlling fluid flow and having open and closed positions, the combination comprising: (a) a housing providing a chamber therewithin and a fluid flow passage therethrough, with inlet and outlet portions to and from said chamber adjacent the lower end of said housing, and generally annular recesses extending about said inlet and outlet ends of said inlet and outlet portions; (b) a ball member rotatably seated in said chamber and having a spheroidal lower portion having a portion of said fluid flow passage extending therethrough providing inlet and outlet ends, said inlet and said outlet ends of said flow passage through said ball member being aligned with said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage into and from said chamber in the open position of said valve and being displaced from said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage in the closed position of said valve; (c) generally annular body seats seated in said annular recesses and extending about said inlet and outlet ends of said flow passage, said body seats having a concave seating surface on their end disposed towards said chamber; (d) generally annular valve seats seated on said concave seating surfaces of said body seats and extending about said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage, said valve seats including a concave sealing surface in sealing engagement with the surface of said lower portion of said ball member, said valve seats having convex seating surfaces slidably seated on said concave surfaces of said body seats; and, (e) means for rotating said ball member about its axis of rotation between said open and closed positions of said valve, said means for rotating having a portion disposed outwardly of said housing and bonnet and operatively connected to said upper portion of said ball member through said passage in said bonnet.
12. A valve in accordance with Claim 11 wherein said body seat has a planar surface on its other end seated on a planar base surface of said annular recess.
13. A valve in accordance with Claim 11 wherein said valve seats include a groove extending about the circumference thereof and providing means for biasing said concave sealing surface against the surface of said ball member.
14. A valve in accordance with Claim 11 wherein said fluid flow passage through said ball member is of generally anticlinal configuration.
15. A valve for controlling fluid flow and having open and closed positions comprising: (a) a housing providing a chamber therewithin and a fluid flow passage therethrough, with inlet and outlet portions to and from said chamber adjacent the lower end of said housing, said housing also having an opening in its upper end communicating with said chamber; (b) a bonnet on said housing sealing said opening in said upper end and having a passage extending therethrough from said chamber, said bonnet passage including a shoulder extending thereabout; (c) means fastening said bonnet to said housing; (d) a valve member rotatably seated in said chamber and having an axis of rotation aligned with the center of said opening in said housing and said valve member having (i) a lower portion including means for permitting fluid flow between said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage into and from said chamber in the open position of said valve, and means for restricting fluid flow between said inlet and outlet portions of said flow passage in the closed position of said valve; and (ii) an upper portion; (e) a cylindrical valve stem extending within said bonnet passage operatively connected at one end to said upper portion of said valve member for rotating said valve member about its axis of rotation between said open and closed positions of said valve, said valve stem having a portion disposed outwardly of said housing at its other end; (f) means for rotating said valve stem; (g) resiliently deflectable means in said bonnet passage about said valve stem; (h) a first annular sealing member in said bonnet passage disposed about said valve stem and against said shoulder; (i) a collar extending about said valve stem within said bonnet passage and disposed below and against said first annular sealing member; (j) a second annular sealing member in said bonnet passage disposed below and against said collar; and (k) a packing gland in said bonnet passage disposed about said valve stem below and against said second annular sealing member, said resiliently deflectable means biasing said packing gland against said second sealing member and thereby said collar against said first sealing member.
16. A valve in accordance with Claim 15 wherein said resiliently deflectable means comprise at least one resiliently deflectable annular member.
17. A valve in accordance with Claim 15 wherein said valve stem is integral with said valve member.
18. A valve in accordance with Claim 15 wherein said valve stem is a separate element and is coupled to said valve member by a coupler therebetween.
19. A valve in accordance with Claim 18 wherein said coupler is axially movable relative to said stem and said resiliently deflectable means also biases said coupling member and thereby said valve member downwardly in said chamber.
20. A valve in accordance with Claim 15 wherein said shoulder is adjacent the upper end of said bonnet.
21. A valve in accordance with Claim 15 wherein said valve stem is a separate member and wherein there are included an annular member in said bonnet passage engaged with said bonnet and second resiliently deflectable means in said bonnet passage disposed against the lower surface of said annular member and bearing on said valve member to bias it downwardly in said chamber, said first mentioned resiliently deflectable means being disposed on the upper surface of said annular member.
Description:
BALL VALVE WITH IMPROVED VALVE SEAT AND BONNET ASSEMBLY1 TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to ball valves, and, more particularly, to ball valves for use with high temperature and/or high pressure fluids.

Ball valves have wide application in the control of fluids in various industrial applications. Such valves generally have a spherical ball with a passage extending therethrough which allows fluid flow through the valve when the valve is open. When the valve is closed by rotating the ball, valve seats about the flow passage in the housing seal against the surface of the ball member to preclude fluid flow through the valve.

Under less demanding operating conditions, various metal alloys may be selected for the components so that the valve will exhibit long life without need for frequent replacement of parts. However, valves used in applications involving high pressure particularly in combination with high temperature and/or highly corrosive fluids, such as encountered in the utility and chemical process industries, exhibit a relatively short useful life because of erosion of the valve components, particularly in the area about the valve seats and in the flow passages. Eventually, this erosion will require removal of the entire valve from the line and replacement.

BACKGROUD ART To facilitate inline service without necessitating removal of the entire valve assembly from its operational environment, some valve bodies have been designed with an opening which permits the ball member and valve seats to be removed. Commonly referred to as a top entry ball valve, this type of ball valve is illustrated in Canuet et al U. S. Patent No. 4,802, 652.

However, there remains a need for ball valves which not only are easy to repair, but also long lived in operation without frequent parts replacement. In United States Letters Patent No. 5,531, 244 granted July 2,1996, there is disclosed a novel ball valve with a highly effective structure for providing good sealing action between the valve body and ball, but it requires relatively complex machining of spheroidal recesses in the surface of the valve chamber to seat adjustably the valve seats.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a novel ball valve in which erosion is reduced and which provides enhanced sealing action and which may be fabricated relatively easily.

It is also an object to provide such a ball valve in which novel valve seat assemblies may be readily installed and replaced.

Another object is to provide such a ball valve in which the valve seats are movable relative to the ball member to accommodate dimensional variations and to ensure good sealing action with the ball member.

Yet another object is to provide such a ball valve employing novel valve seat inserts which are urged against the ball member.

A further object is to provide such a ball valve with a highly effective bonnet/valve stem seal which may be readily fabricated and assembled.

A still further object is to provide such a ball valve in which the sealing action about the stem in the bonnet is enhanced by the pressure in the valve.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION It has now been found that the foregoing and related objects may be readily attained in a valve for controlling fluid flow having open and closed positions, and including a housing providing a chamber therewithin, a removable bonnet on the housing, and a valve member rotatably seated in the chamber. The housing has a fluid flow passage extending therethrough with inlet and outlet portions to and from the chamber adjacent its lower end, and an opening in its upper end communicating with the chamber. The flow passage also has generally annular recesses extending about the inlet and outlet ends of its inlet and outlet portions. The removable bonnet on the housing seals the opening in the upper end of the housing, has a passage therethrough from the chamber, and is fastened to the housing.

The valve member has an axis of rotation aligned with the center of the opening in the housing, and the opening in the housing is cooperatively dimensioned with respect to the valve member to permit removal of the valve member therethrough. The valve member includes an upper portion and a spheroidal lower portion which has a shaped fluid flow passage therethrough with inlet and outlet ends. The inlet and the outlet ends of the passage in the valve member are aligned with the inlet and outlet portions of the flow passage into and from the chamber in the open position of the valve and are displaced from the inlet and outlet portions of the flow passage in the closed position of the valve. The fluid flow passage extends through the axis of rotation of the valve member.

Generally annular body seats are seated in the annular recesses in the body and extend about the inlet and outlet ends of the flow passage. The body seats have a concave seating surface on their end disposed towards the chamber.

Generally annular valve seats are seated on the body seats and extend about the inlet and outlet portions of the flow passage. The valve seats have a concave sealing surface on one end in sealing engagement with the surface of the lower portion of the valve member, and have a convex seating surface on the other end slidably seated on the concave surface of the body seats.

A valve stem extends within the passage of the bonnet and is connected at one end to the upper portion of the valve member. The valve stem rotates the valve member about its axis of rotation between the open and closed positions of the valve, and has a portion disposed outwardly of the housing and bonnet and operatively connected to the upper portion of the valve member through the passage in the bonnet. Means is provided for rotating the valve stem, and the valve includes resiliently deflectable means biasing the valve member towards the valve seats.

The passage in the bonnet is configured to provide a shoulder, and the valve includes a first annular sealing member disposed about the valve stem and against the shoulder. The valve stem has a collar within the passage in the bonnet and disposed below and bearing against the annular sealing member, and a second annular sealing member is disposed about the stem below the collar. A packing gland is disposed about the valve stem below the second annular sealing member and above the resiliently deflectable means, and the internal pressure at the bottom of the bonnet and the deflectable means bias the stem and packing gland against the second sealing member and the collar to effect a highly effectual sealing action about the stem within the bonnet.

Preferably, the valve seats may include a groove extending about the circumference thereof which provides some resilient deflection of the peripheral portion of the valve seat and pressure in the passage in the body to bias the concave sealing surface against the surface of the lower portion of the valve member.

Generally, the fluid flow passage through the valve member is of generally anticlinal configuration and has a pair of arcuate legs intersecting at the axis of rotation of the valve member to form a generally inverted U-shaped fluid flow passage through the valve member. The valve seats and body seats are oriented at an angle of about 45 degrees to the axis of rotation of the valve member.

Desirably, the resiliently deflectable means may comprise a helical spring or at least one resiliently deflectable annular member.

Generally, the valve stem is separately formed from, and coupled to, the valve member so that it may move axially to obtain the optimum sealing action about the stem.

In a preferred embodiment, an annular member in the bonnet passage is engaged with the bonnet with separate deflectable means above and below it to separately apply biasing pressure to the sealing members and to the valve member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Figure 1 is a cross sectional view of a ball valve embodying the present invention, and with the ball member in the valve open position; Figure 1A is an enlarged view of the circled section of Figure 1; Figure 2 is a cross sectional view of the valve body of the valve of Figure 1; Figure 3 is an elevational view of the ball member of the valve of Figure 1; Figure 4 is a view in partial section of the ball member along the line 4-4 of Figure 3; Figure 5 is a greatly enlarged elevational view in partial section of a valve seat of the valve of Figure 1; Figure 6 is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of the valve of the present invention using a flow passage through the ball member of a different configuration; Figure 7 is a vertical cross sectional view of still another embodiment of a ball valve with a flow passage in which the inlet and outlet ports are angularly oriented; Figure 8 is an enlarged view similar to Figure 1A showing another embodiment of the valve of the present invention using a novel body and valve seat assembly; Figure 9 is an enlarged elevational view in partial section of the body seat in the valve of Figure 8; and Figure 10 is a fragmentary sectional view of an alternate embodiment of a valve bonnet assembly in which two spring assemblies are employed.

MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION Turning first to Figure 1, therein illustrated is a ball valve embodying the present invention and comprised of a valve body generally designated by the numeral 10, a ball member generally designated by the numeral 14, a fluid flow passage generally designated by the numeral 15, a bonnet generally designated by the numeral 12, and a valve stem generally designated by the numeral 16.

As best seen in Figure 2, the valve body 10 has a valve chamber 18 and inlet and outlet ports 20,22 which communicate with the inlet and outlet portions 24,26, or legs of the flow passage 15 provided by aligned rectilinear portions 28. The valve body 10 has an opening 31 in its upper end communicating with the chamber 18, and a collar 30 on the body 10 extends about the opening end 31 thereof. As seen in Figure 1, the bonnet 12 seats on the collar 30 over the opening 31 and is secured to the body 10 by fasteners 32.

As illustrated in Figures 3 and 4, the ball member 14 has a lower spheroidal portion 34 through which extends a convexly arcuate flow passage 36 which is generally in the shape of an inverted"U". When the valve is in the open position, the ends of the arcuate passage 36 are aligned with the inlet and outlet portions 24,26 of the flow passage 15 in the valve body 10 to permit fluid flow through the valve, as shown in Figure 1. The valve is closed by rotating the ball member 14 through a 90o arc from the open position to seal the flow passage 15 by offsetting the ends of the arcuate passage 36 from the inlet and outlet portions 24,26 of the flow passage 15. The ball member 14 may be rotated by a handle 38 which is engaged with the valve stem 16.

The inverted U-shaped flow passage 36 is disposed primarily in the lower spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14, as illustrated in Figures 3 and 4. The configurations and dimension of the lower spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14 cooperate with the body opening 31 to permit its easy removal through the opening 31.

As illustrated in Figure 1A, the bonnet 12 has a depending sealing flange 51 which extends into the opening 31 and seals against the valve body 10 to seal the valve chamber 18.

As shown in Figure 1, annular valve seats 42,44 are disposed about the inlet and outlet portions 24,26 of the flow passage 15 on both the upstream and downstream sides of the chamber 18. As best seen in Figures 1A and 5, the valve seats 42,44 have a concave sealing surface 46 which is cooperatively configured with respect to the convex surface of the ball member 14. The opposite seating surface 48 is convexly curved and slidably seats in concave recesses 50 about the inlet and outlet portions 22,24 of the flow passage 15. The concave sealing surface 46 and convex seating surface 48 permit the seats 42,44 to slide and adjust themselves between the concave surfaces 50 of the body 10 and of the spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14. This self-adjusting feature accommodates minor dimensional differences between the interfitting portions of the valve seats 42 and 44, the valve body 10, and the ball member 14, and provides uniform sealing force circumferentially against the ball member 14.

The valve seats 42,44 also have a groove 52 which extends about the circumference thereof as illustrated in Figures 1A and 5. The groove 52 allows the peripheral portion of the seats 42,44 to deflect under high pressure loading to urge the sealing surfaces 46 of the seats 42,44 against the ball member 14.

Removal of the bonnet 12 allows top entry, inline access to both the ball member 14 and annular valve seats 42,44 which are all cooperatively dimensioned and configured to permit insertion and removal through the opening 31 in the valve body 10.

This construction enables the ball member 14, and valve seats 42,44 of the valve to be replaced by simply removing the bonnet 12 from the valve body 10 while the valve remains in place in the operating line in which it is installed. The bonnet 12 is removably connected to the collar 30 of the valve body 10 by studs 54 and nuts 56, and this connection may also be sealed with 0-rings 58, as shown in Figure 6 or any other pressure actuated seal (not shown).

The upper portion 60 of the ball member 14 is generally cylindrical and extends into the bonnet 12, and is preferably coupled to a separate valve stem 16 as illustrated in Figures 1 and 7, although it may have an integral valve stem 16a as illustrated in Figure 6. In either embodiment, the valve stem 16 seats within a cylindrical passageway 62 in the bonnet 12. As illustrated in Figure 1, annular gland seals 64,66 are provided about the periphery of the valve stem 16 and below a shoulder 68 in the passageway 62.

The stem 16 is coupled to the ball member 14 by the coupler 61 which has a recess seating the boss 63 on the ball member 14 and a bore 65 seating the lower end of the stem to effect driving engagement therebetween.

In the preferred embodiment illustrated in Figure 1, the valve stem 16 has a collar 70 which has annular gland seals 64,66 above and below it. The seals 64,66 are compressed axially by the biasing force of Belleville washers 72 whose force is transmitted upwardly through the packing ring 74, the lower seal 66, the collar 70, the upper seal 64, and finally against the shoulder 68. The passageway 62 about the stem 16 is sealed by the seal 64 which is being compressed between the shoulder 68 and the collar 70, and also by the seal 66 which is being compressed between the collar 66 and the packing ring 74. The seal 64 is additionally forced against the shoulder 68 by the internal pressure acting on the area of the stem 16 below the collar 70 tending to force the stem 16 outwardly of the bonnet 12.

In addition to providing an upward biasing force on the seals 64,66, the Belleville washers 72 also provide downward biasing force to maintain the ball member 14 firmly on the seats 42,44 at all times.

In operation, fluid enters the valve body 10 through the inlet port 20 and travels horizontally in the inlet portion 24 of the flow passage 15 until it is directed upwardly at an angle of 45O by the bend 76 in the inlet portion 24. The fluid continues to flow upwardly through the annular valve seat 42 and into the arcuate flow passage 36 in the ball member 14. As the fluid flows past the inlet seat 42 and into the chamber 18 about the ball member 14, it forces the lower spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14 against the downstream outlet seat 44 to act like a check piston. In addition, the fluid flow has an upward force component which increases as the valve is opened so that the force between the ball member 14 and the seats 42,44 is thereby reduced and less torque is required to open the valve.

As the fluid flows through the ball member 14, it is redirected downwardly. The fluid flows from the ball member 14 through the annular valve seat 44 until it is again redirected by the bend 78 in the outlet portion 26 of the flow passage 15 and exits the body 10 as a horizontal flow at the outlet port 22.

As illustrated in Figure 6, the flow passage 36 in the ball member 14 may have a sharper bend in the form of a generally inverted L or V instead of an inverted U.

As will be appreciated, various other designs may be used for the annular valve seats 42,44 to position the seats in the housing. Figure 6 illustrates an alternate configuration for the valve seats in which 0-rings 80 are seated in a recess 82 in the periphery of the seats 42a, 44a to bias the seats 42a, 44a to provide a pressure seal between the seats 42a, 44a and the valve body 10.

As best illustrated in Figure 6, the Belleville washers 72 may be replaced by a helical spring 72a which will bias the ball member 14 against the valve seats 42a, 44a.

The included angle of the anticlinal passage 36 through the ball member 14 may vary from a minimum of approximately 600 to a maximum of approximately 1200.

However, the 90O included angle of the passage 36 illustrated in the drawings represents an optimum tradeoff between the competing design considerations for the cross-sectional area of the passage, the diameter of the ball member to locate the seat members below its diameter, and the degree of angle of the passage. For example, for a given size cross-sectional passage area 14, the diameter of the ball member 14 must increase as the angle of the arcuate passage 14 increases in order to permit the seats to remain about the lower spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14 in accordance with the present invention. However, as the included angle of the passage decreases, then the pressure drop across the valve increases. Thus, the 90o angle of the passage 36 in accordance with the preferred embodiment represents an optimum tradeoff between these competing design considerations.

As illustrated in Figure 7, the inlet and outlet ports 20a, 22a of the valve body 10a may lie in planes which are oriented at an angle with respect to each other. This configuration enables the valve to readily serve as an elbow to attach pipes (not shown) which are similarly oriented at an angle with respect to each other which, in turn, significantly reduces installation costs by eliminating the necessity for a fitting and two welds. The planes in which the inlet and outlet ports 20a, 22a lie are aligned with the seats 42a, 44a and are also at an angle of 45O to the axis of rotation of the ball member and 90O with respect to each other.

In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 8 and 9, generally annular body seats 43 are disposed in annular recesses 50a of generally cylindrical configuration about the inlet and outlet portions 24,26 of the flow passage 15 on both the upstream and downstream sides of the chamber 18. The body seats 43 have a concave sealing surface 47 at one end which is cooperatively configured with respect to the convex surface 48 of the valve seats 42,44. The seating surface 49 at the opposite end is planar and seats on the planar base surface 50b of the annular recesses 50a about the inlet and outlet portions 22,24 of the flow passage 15.

The concave sealing surface 47 permits the convexly curved valve seats 42,44 to slide on the body seats 43 and adjust themselves between the body 10 and the spheroidal portion 34 of the ball member 14. This self-adjusting feature accommodates minor dimensional differences between the interfitting portions of the valve seats 42 and 44, the body seats 43, the valve body 10, and the ball member 14.

The annular body seats 43 are relatively simple to machine as separate inserts in contrast to the difficulty of machining spheroidal valve seat surfaces 50 in the chamber of the body 10, and they also enable ready replacement of a wear surface. Moreover, the machining of the annular recesses 50a of generally cylindrical configuration may be readily machined to match closely the circumference of the seats 43.

Turning now to Figure 10, therein illustrated is a preferred embodiment of the bonnet assembly of the present invention in which separate spring assemblies apply biasing pressure to the seals 64,66 and to the ball member 14. In this embodiment, the bonnet 12a is provided with an internally threaded portion 80 with which is threadably engaged the annular member 82, and the valve stem 16a is slidable axially therein. On its upper surface are a multiplicity of Belleville washers 72a which apply an upwardly directed compressive force on the packing gland 74a and thereby the seal 66, the collar 70a and the seal 64. Bearing against the lower surface of the annular member 82 is a second spring assembly provided by a multiplicity of Belleville washers 84 which apply a downward loading on the ball member 14. This allows the compressive force of the spring assembly provided by the washers 72a to be applied during assembly and independently of the spring force to be applied by the washers 84 downwardly against the ball member 14.

As will be appreciated, various materials may be employed for the construction of the valve. Most conveniently, the ball member and seats should be of a hard, gall- resistant alloys to withstand frictional abrasion and erosion as the ball member is moved across the seats while effecting opening and closing of the valve, and they may be provided with wear resistant surface coatings by plasma deposition or the like.

Thus, it can be seen that the present invention provides a novel ball valve for operation under high pressure conditions, and which is highly effective and reliable, durable, and relatively easy and economical to manufacture. The housing is provided with a top opening, and the ball member and valve seats are cooperatively dimensioned and configured to be easily serviced inline without the necessity for removing the valve body from the operating line in which it is installed. The novel bonnet assembly provides an effective seal about the valve stem and also serves to maintain the valve member firmly seated on the valve seats.




 
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