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Title:
VALVE ASSEMBLY FOR A RECIPROCATING PUMP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/169312
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A valve member for a reciprocating pump includes a valve head that is configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position. The valve head includes a body, and an insert held by the body. The insert defines at least a portion of a strike face that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position. The valve head includes a seal held by the insert. The seal is configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

Inventors:
SUTTON, Joe Allen (111 W. 6th Street, Weatherford, Texas, 76086, US)
Application Number:
US2019/020371
Publication Date:
September 06, 2019
Filing Date:
March 01, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
S.P.M. FLOW CONTROL, INC. (601 Weir Way, Fort Worth, Texas, 76102, US)
International Classes:
F16K25/04; F04B53/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO2015077001A12015-05-28
Foreign References:
US20170002947A12017-01-05
US20140070127A12014-03-13
US20090314979A12009-12-24
US20080279705A12008-11-13
US4432386A1984-02-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOELLER, Peter J. (Barta, Jones & Foley, P.C.,2805 Dallas Parkway, Suite 22, Plano Texas, 75093, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A valve member for a reciprocating pump, the valve member comprising:

a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position, the valve head comprising:

a body;

an insert held by the body, the insert defining at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position; and

a seal held by the insert, the seal being configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

2. The valve member of claim 1, wherein the insert comprises a recess, the seal being held within the recess of the insert.

3. The valve member of claim 1, wherein the body of the valve head comprises a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem, the insert being held within the recess.

4. The valve member of claim 1, wherein the body of the valve head comprises a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem, the insert being held within the recess, wherein the seal is held by the insert such that the seal is spaced apart from the lip.

5. The valve member of claim 1, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

6. The valve member of claim 1 , wherein the insert comprises at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self- healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal.

7. The valve member of claim 1, wherein the body comprises steel.

8. The valve member of claim 1, further comprising a tail segment extending from the valve head, the tail segment being configured to be received within the valve seat.

9. A valve member for a reciprocating pump, the valve member comprising:

a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position, the valve head comprising:

a body comprising a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem;

an insert held within the recess of the body, the insert defining at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position; and

a seal held by the lip of the flange, the seal being configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

10. The valve member of claim 9, wherein the recess is a body recess and the lip is a lip recess, the seal being held within the lip recess.

11. The valve member of claim 9, wherein the seal is held by the lip such that the seal is spaced apart from the insert.

12. The valve member of claim 9, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body. 13. The valve member of claim 9, wherein the insert comprises at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal. 14. The valve member of claim 9, further comprising a tail segment extending from the stem of the body of the valve head, the tail segment being configured to be received within the valve seat.

15. A valve assembly for a reciprocating pump, the valve assembly comprising: a valve seat extending along a valve seat axis; and

a valve member configured to move relative to the valve seat along the valve seat axis between an open position and a closed position, the valve member comprising a valve head that includes a strike face that is configured to contact the valve seat in the closed position, the valve head comprising an insert that defines at least a portion of the strike face, wherein the strike face extends at an angle of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis.

16. The valve assembly of claim 15, wherein the strike face of the valve head extends at an angle of approximately 130° relative to the valve seat axis.

17. The valve assembly of claim 15, wherein the valve head comprises a body, the insert of the valve head being held by the body, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

18. The valve assembly of claim 15, wherein the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, wherein the seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of less than approximately 56° relative to the valve seat axis.

19. The valve assembly of claim 15, wherein the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, wherein the seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of approximately 50° relative to the valve seat axis.

20. The valve assembly of claim 15, wherein the strike face is a head strike face and the insert is a head insert, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, the valve seat comprising a body and a seat insert held by the body, wherein the seat insert defines at least a portion of the seat strike face and has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

Description:
VALVE ASSEMBLY FOR A RECIPROCATING PUMP

CROSS-REFERNCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This Application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial Number 62/637,319, filed on March 1, 2018 and entitled“VALVE WITH HIGH-STRENGHT INSET FOR FRAC PUMP,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to reciprocating pumps, and, in particular, to valve assemblies used in reciprocating pumps. BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

In oilfield operations, reciprocating pumps are used for different applications such as fracturing subterranean formations to drill for oil or natural gas, cementing the wellbore, or treating the wellbore and/or formation. A reciprocating pump designed for fracturing operations is sometimes referred to as a“frac pump.” A reciprocating pump typically includes a power end section and a fluid end section. The fluid end section can be formed of a one piece construction or a series of blocks secured together by rods. The fluid end section includes a fluid cylinder (sometimes referred to as a cylinder section or a fluid end block) having a plunger passage for receiving a plunger or plunger throw, an inlet fluid passage, and an outlet fluid passage (sometimes referred to as a discharge passage).

During operation of a reciprocating pump, a fluid is pumped into the fluid cylinder through the inlet passage and out of the pump through the outlet passage. The inlet and outlet passages each include a valve assembly to control the flow of fluid into and out of the fluid cylinder. For example, the valve assemblies can be differential pressure valves that are opened by differential pressure of fluid and allow the fluid to flow in only one direction through the corresponding inlet or outlet passage. The valve assemblies typically include a valve seat and a valve member that moves relative to the valve seat between an open position and a closed position. In the open position, the valve member is separated from the valve seat such that fluid can flow through the valve assembly. In the closed position, the valve member is sealingly engaged with the valve seat such that fluid is prevented from flowing through the valve assembly. But, repetitive engagement between the valve member and the valve seat can wear the valve assemblies. For example, reciprocating pumps often operate at pressures of 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and upward to 25,000 psi and at rates of up to 1,000 strokes per minute or even higher during fracturing operations. Accordingly, the relatively high cyclical rates and/or loads experienced by the valve assemblies can wear the valve assemblies over time. Moreover, the fluid moved through the reciprocating pump sometimes contains solid particulates and/or corrosive material. Over time, the solid particulates and/or corrosive material of the fluid can corrode, erode, and/or pit surfaces of the valve assemblies. For example, solid particulates can become trapped and thereby crushed between strike faces of the valve member and the valve seat and thereby cause erosion and/or pitting of the strike faces.

SUMMARY

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter. Nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

In a first aspect, a valve member for a reciprocating pump includes a valve head that is configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position. The valve head includes a body, and an insert held by the body. The insert defines at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position. The valve head includes a seal held by the insert. The seal is configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

In some embodiments, the insert includes a recess. The seal is held within the recess of the insert.

In some embodiments, the body of the valve head includes a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange. The body includes a recess defined between the lip and the stem. The insert is held within the recess.

In some embodiments, the body of the valve head includes a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange. The body includes a recess defined between the lip and the stem. The insert is held within the recess. The seal is held by the insert such that the seal is spaced apart from the lip.

In some embodiments, the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

In some embodiments, the insert includes at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal.

In some embodiments, the body includes steel.

In some embodiments, the valve member includes a tail segment extending from the valve head. The tail segment is configured to be received within the valve seat.

In a second aspect, a valve member for a reciprocating pump includes a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position. The valve head includes a body that includes a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange. The body includes a recess defined between the lip and the stem. The valve head includes an insert held within the recess of the body. The insert defines at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position. The valve head includes a seal held by the lip of the flange. The seal is configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

In some embodiments, the recess is a body recess and the lip is a lip recess. The seal is held within the lip recess.

In some embodiments, the seal is held by the lip such that the seal is spaced apart from the insert.

In some embodiments, the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

In some embodiments, the insert includes at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal.

In some embodiments, the valve member includes a tail segment extending from the stem of the body of the valve head. The tail segment is configured to be received within the valve seat.

In a third aspect, a valve assembly for a reciprocating pump includes a valve seat extending along a valve seat axis, and a valve member configured to move relative to the valve seat along the valve seat axis between an open position and a closed position. The valve member includes a valve head that includes a strike face that is configured to contact the valve seat in the closed position. The valve head includes an insert that defines at least a portion of the strike face. The strike face extends at an angle of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis.

In some embodiments, the strike face of the valve head extends at an angle of approximately 130° relative to the valve seat axis.

In some embodiments, the valve head includes a body. The insert of the valve head is held by the body. The insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

In some embodiments, the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face. The valve seat includes a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position. The seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of less than approximately 56° relative to the valve seat axis.

In some embodiments, the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face. The valve seat includes a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position. The seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of approximately 50° relative to the valve seat axis.

In some embodiments, the strike face is a head strike face and the insert is a head insert. The valve seat includes a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position. The valve seat includes a body and a seat insert held by the body. The seat insert defines at least a portion of the seat strike face and has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

Other aspects, features, and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which are a part of this disclosure and which illustrate, by way of example, principles of the inventions disclosed. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings facilitate an understanding of the various embodiments.

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a reciprocating pump assembly according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a fluid end section of the reciprocating pump assembly shown in FIG. 1 according an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the fluid end portion shown in FIG. 2 illustrating a portion of an inlet valve assembly according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a valve member according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a valve seat according to an exemplary embodiment.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Certain embodiments of the disclosure provide a valve member for a reciprocating pump. The valve member includes a valve head that is configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position. The valve head includes a body, and an insert held by the body. The insert defines at least a portion of a strike face configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position. The valve head includes a seal held by the insert. The seal is configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

Certain embodiments of the disclosure provide a valve member for a reciprocating pump. The valve member includes a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position. The valve head includes a body that includes a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange. The body includes a recess defined between the lip and the stem. The valve head includes an insert held within the recess of the body. The insert defines at least a portion of a strike face configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position. The valve head includes a seal held by the lip of the flange. The seal is configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

Certain embodiments of the disclosure provide a valve assembly for a reciprocating pump. The valve assembly includes a valve seat extending along a valve seat axis, and a valve member configured to move relative to the valve seat along the valve seat axis between an open position and a closed position. The valve member includes a valve head that includes a strike face that is configured to contact the valve seat in the closed position. The valve head includes an insert that defines at least a portion of the strike face. The strike face extends at an angle of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis.

Certain embodiments of the disclosure reduce the load on the strike face, which lowers the effects of impact and abrasion from crushing frac media and thereby increases the life of the valve member and/or valve seat. Certain embodiments of the disclosure provide the components of valve assemblies with an increased resistance to corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or impact. Certain embodiments of the disclosure reduce wear of the components of valve assemblies, for example caused by repeated contact between strike faces, from particulates being trapped and thereby crushed between strike faces, and/or the like. Certain embodiments of the disclosure reduce the exposure of a seal to the corrosive and/or abrasive fluid flowing through valve assemblies. Certain embodiments of the disclosure extend the life span of the components of valve assemblies. Certain embodiments of the disclosure reduce the cost of the components of valve assemblies. Referring to FIG. 1, an illustrative embodiment of a reciprocating pump assembly 100 is presented. The reciprocating pump assembly 100 includes a power end section 102 and a fluid end section 104 operably coupled thereto. The power end section 102 includes a housing 106 in which a crankshaft (not shown) is disposed. Rotation of the crankshaft is driven by an engine or motor (not shown) of the power end section 102. The fluid end section 104 includes a fluid cylinder 108 (sometimes referred to as a“fluid end block” or a“cylinder section”), which in the exemplary embodiments is connected to the housing 106 via a plurality of stay rods 110. Other structures may be used to connect the fluid end section 104 to the housing 106 in addition or alternatively to the stay rods 110. In operation, the crankshaft reciprocates a plunger rod assembly 112 between the power end section 102 and the fluid end section 104 to thereby pump (i.e., move) fluid through the fluid cylinder 108.

According to some embodiments, the reciprocating pump assembly 100 is freestanding on the ground, mounted to a trailer for towing between operational sites, mounted to a skid, loaded on a manifold, otherwise transported, and/or the like. The reciprocating pump assembly 100 is not limited to frac pumps or the plunger rod pump shown herein. Rather, the embodiments disclosed herein may be used with any other type of pump that includes a valve assembly.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the plunger rod assembly 112 includes a plunger 114 extending through a plunger passage 116 and into a pressure chamber 118 formed in the fluid cylinder 108. At least the plunger passage 116, the pressure chamber 118, and the plunger 114 together may be characterized as a“plunger throw.” According to some embodiments, the reciprocating pump assembly 100 includes three plunger throws (i.e., a triplex pump assembly); however, in other embodiments, the reciprocating pump assembly 100 includes a greater or fewer number of plunger throws. As shown in FIG. 2, the fluid cylinder 108 includes inlet and outlet fluid passages 120 and 122, respectively, formed therein. Optionally, the inlet and outlet fluid passages 120 and 122, respectively, are coaxially disposed along a fluid passage axis 124, for example as is shown in FIG. 2. As described in greater detail below, fluid is adapted to flow through the inlet and outlet fluid passages 120 and 122, respectively, and along the fluid passage axis 124. An inlet valve assembly 126 is disposed in the inlet fluid passage 120 and an outlet valve assembly 128 is disposed in the outlet fluid passage 122. In the exemplary embodiments, the valve assemblies 126 and 128 are spring-loaded, which, as described in greater detail below, are actuated by at least a predetermined differential pressure across each of the valve assemblies 126 and 128.

The fluid cylinder 108 of the fluid end section 104 of the reciprocating pump assembly 100 includes an access port 130. The access port 130 is defined by an opening that extends through a body 132 of the fluid cylinder 108 to provide access to the pressure chamber 118 and thereby internal components of the fluid cylinder 108 (e.g., the inlet valve assembly 126, the outlet valve assembly 128, the plunger 114, etc.) for service (e.g., maintenance, replacement, etc.) thereof. The access port 130 of the fluid cylinder 108 is closed using a suction cover assembly 134 to seal the pressure chamber 118 of the fluid cylinder 108 at the access port 130. The suction cover assembly 134 includes a suction cover 136 and a suction cover nut 138 that holds the suction cover 134 within the access port 130.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the inlet valve assembly 126 includes a valve seat 140 and a valve member 142 that is configured to be sealingly engaged therewith. The valve seat 140 includes a body 144 having an inner surface 146 and an outer surface 148. The inner surface 146 forms an inlet valve bore 150 that extends along a valve seat axis 152 which is coaxial with the fluid passage axis 124 when the inlet valve assembly 126 is disposed in the inlet fluid passage 120. The outer surface 148 of the valve seat 140 engages in physical contact with a wall 154 ofthe inlet fluid passage 120. A sealing element 156 (e.g., an o-ring, etc.) may be disposed in a groove 158 formed in the outer surface 148 of valve seat 140 to sealingly engage the wall 154 of the inlet fluid passage 120. According to some examples, the outer surface 148 of the valve seat 140 forms an interference fit (i.e., press-fit) with the wall 154 of the inlet fluid passage 120 to hold the valve seat 140 within the inlet fluid passage 120. In some other examples, instead of being a separate component as illustrated herein, the valve seat 140 is defined (i.e., formed) by the body 132 of the fluid cylinder 108 (i.e., the body 144 of the valve seat 140 is integrally formed with the body 132 of the fluid cylinder 108 such that the body 144 of the valve seat 140 and the body 132 of the fluid cylinder 108 have a single unitary construction). For example, the shoulder 494 and the recess 500 of the valve seat 140

(each described below with reference to FIG. 5) are defined by the wall 154 of the inlet fluid passage 120 in some other examples.

The valve member 142 includes a valve head 160 and a tail segment 162 extending from the valve head 160. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the tail segment 162 is received within the inlet valve bore 150 of the valve seat 140 when the inlet valve assembly 126 is assembled as shown. The valve head 160 includes a body 164 and a seal 166. The valve head 160 of the valve member 142 is moveable relative to the valve seat 140 along the valve seat axis 152 between an open position and a closed position. In the closed position of the valve member 142, the seal 166 of the valve head 160 sealingly engages the valve seat 140 to prevent fluid flow through the inlet valve assembly 126. In the exemplary embodiments, the valve member 142 is engaged and otherwise biased by a spring 168, which, as discussed in greater detail below, biases the valve member 142 to the closed position. The inlet valve assembly 126 includes a valve stop 170 (not shown in FIG. 3), which limits the travel of the valve member 142 in an open position of the valve member 142. According to certain embodiments, at least a portion of the body 144 of the valve seat 140, at least a portion of the body 164 of the valve head 160, and/or at least a portion of the tail segment 162 of the valve member 142 is formed from steel (e.g., stainless steel, etc.)· But, the body 144, the body 164, and/or the tail segment 162 includes any other material in addition or alternative to stainless steel in other embodiments.

In operation, and referring now solely to FIG. 2, the plunger 114 reciprocates within the plunger passage 116 for movement into and out of the pressure chamber 118. That is, the plunger 114 moves back and forth horizontally, as viewed in FIG. 2, away from and towards the fluid passage axis 124 in response to rotation of the crankshaft (not shown) that is enclosed within the housing 106 (FIG. 1) of the power end section 102 (FIG. 1). Movement of the plunger 114 in the direction of arrow 172 away from the fluid passage axis 124 and out of the pressure chamber 118 will be referred to herein as the suction stroke of the plunger 114. As the plunger 114 moves along the suction stroke, the inlet valve assembly 126 is opened to the open position of the valve member 142. More particularly, as the plunger 114 moves away from the fluid passage axis 124 in the direction of arrow 172, the pressure inside the pressure chamber 118 decreases, creating a differential pressure across the inlet valve assembly 126 and causing the head 160 of the valve member 142 to move (relative to the valve seat 140) upward, as viewed in FIG. 2, along the valve seat axis 152 in the direction of arrow 174. As a result of the upward movement of the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 along the valve seat axis 152, the spring 168 is compressed and the valve head 160 of the valve body 142 separates from the valve seat 140 to move the valve member 142 to the open position. In the open position of the valve member 142, fluid entering through an inlet 176 of the inlet fluid passage 120 flows along the fluid passage axis 124 and through the inlet valve assembly 126, being drawn into the pressure chamber 118. To flow through the inlet valve assembly 126, the fluid flows through the inlet valve bore 150 and along the valve seat axis 152. As can be seen in FIG. 2, the valve stop 170 is engaged with the spring 168 to limit the travel of the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 in the open position. More particularly, the valve stop 170 prevents the valve head 160 from moving past the fully open position of the valve member 142.

During the fluid flow through the inlet valve assembly 126 and into the pressure chamber 118, the outlet valve assembly 128 is in a closed position wherein a valve head 178 of a valve member 180 of the outlet valve assembly 128 is sealingly engaged with a valve seat 182 of the outlet valve assembly 128. Fluid continues to be drawn into the pressure chamber 118 until the plunger 114 is at the end of the suction stroke of the plunger 114, wherein the plunger 114 is at the farthest point from the fluid passage axis 124 of the range of motion of the plunger 114.

At the end of the suction stroke of the plunger 114, the differential pressure across the inlet valve assembly 126 is such that the spring 168 of the inlet valve assembly 126 begins to decompress and extend, forcing the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 of the inlet valve assembly 126 to move (relative to the valve seat 140) downward, as viewed in FIG. 2, along the valve seat axis 152 in the direction of arrow 184. As a result, the inlet valve assembly 126 moves to the closed position of the valve member 142 wherein the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 is sealingly engaged with the valve seat 140.

Movement of the plunger 114 in the direction of arrow 186 toward the fluid passage axis 124 and into the pressure chamber 118 will be referred to herein as the discharge stroke of the plunger 114. As the plunger 114 moves along the discharge stroke into the pressure chamber 118, the pressure within the pressure chamber 118 increases. The pressure within the pressure chamber 118 increases until the differential pressure across the outlet valve assembly 128 exceeds a predetermined set point, at which point the outlet valve assembly 128 opens and permits fluid to flow out of the pressure chamber 118 along the fluid passage axis 124, being discharged through the outlet valve assembly 128. During the discharge stroke of the plunger 114, the valve member 142 of the inlet valve assembly 126 is positioned in the closed position wherein the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 is sealingly engaged with the valve seat 140.

Although shown herein as being a helical (i.e., coil) compression spring, additionally or alternatively the spring 168 can include any type of spring, such as, but not limited to, a flat spring, a machined spring, a serpentine spring, a torsion spring, a tension spring, a constant spring, a variable spring, a variable stiffness spring, a leaf spring, a cantilever spring, a volute spring, a v-spring, and/or the like.

Referring again to FIG. 3, the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 includes a strike face 188 that contacts a strike face 190 (described below) of the valve seat 140 when the valve head 160 is in the closed position of the valve member 142. In some embodiments, the strike face 188 extends at an angle a of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis 152. For example, the angle a of the strike face 188 is approximately 130° relative to the valve seat axis 152 in the embodiment of the valve member 142 shown in FIG. 3. But, in other embodiments the angle a of the strike face 188 extends at any other angle a of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis 152. Moreover, the strike face 188 extends at an angle a relative to the valve seat axis 152 of less than approximately 125° in other embodiments (e.g., an angle a of approximately 90°, i.e., perpendicular, relative to the valve seat axis 152). The strike face 188 may be referred to herein as a“head strike face”, while the strike face 190 may be referred to herein as a“seat strike face”.

In some examples, the angle a of the strike face 188 is selected to provide an extended solid mating surface with the valve seat 140. For example, increasing the angle a of the strike face 188 to approximately 125° or greater increases the surface area of the strike face 188. The increased surface area of the strike face 188 reduces the load on the strike face 188 during operation of the inlet valve assembly 126. The reduced load lowers the effects of impact and abrasion from crushing particulates (e.g., frac media, etc.) and thereby increases the life of the valve member 142.

In some embodiments, the valve head 160 includes an insert 192 held by the body 164 of the valve head 160. More particularly, the exemplary embodiment of the body 164 shown in FIG. 3 includes a stem 194 and a flange 196 that extends radially outward (relative to the valve seat axis 152) from the stem 194 to a lip 198 of the flange 196. The body 164 includes a recess 200 defined between the lip 198 of the flange 196 and the stem 194. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the insert 192 is held by the body 164 within the recess 200 of the body 164. The recess 200 may be referred to herein as a“body recess”. The insert 192 may be referred to herein as a“head insert”.

The insert 192 defines at least a portion of the strike face 188 of the valve head 160. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the insert 192 defines an approximate entirety of the strike face 188. In other words, the strike face 188 does not include any portion of the body 164 (e.g., does not include any portion of the lip 198, etc.) such that the strike face 188 is defined entirely by the insert 192. But, in other embodiments, the strike face 188 includes a portion of the body 164 (e.g., the lip 198, etc.) such that the strike face 188 is defined partially by the insert 192 and partially by the body 164.

The insert 192 has a material hardness value that is greater than the material hardness value of the body 164 of the valve head 160. Accordingly, the insert 192 has a greater strength as compared to the body 164 of the valve head 160. In some examples, the material hardness value of the insert 192 is between approximately 12 to approximately 22 GPa with reference to the Vickers hardness number.

In some examples, the insert 192 includes one or more of the following materials: a ceramic, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, a tungsten carbide, tungsten carbide cobalt (e.g., tungsten carbide combined with approximately 6-10% cobalt, etc.), tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal. The insert 192 includes a refractory material (e.g., oxides of aluminum, silicon, magnesium, etc.) in some examples. In one specific embodiment, the insert 192 of the valve head 160 is formed from a ceramic material and the body 164 of the valve head 160 is formed from steel (e.g., stainless steel, etc.). Any other materials can be used in other embodiments.

In use, the insert 192 extends the life span of the valve member 142. For example, the higher strength of the insert 192 (e.g., as compared to the body 164, etc.) reduces wear caused by repeated contact with the strike face 190 of the valve seat 140. Moreover, because particulates from the fluid flowing through the reciprocating pump 100 can become trapped between the strike faces 188 and 190 of the valve member 142 and valve seat 140, respectively, the insert 192 reduces and/or otherwise prevents the wear of the valve member 142.

In some examples, the higher-strength insert 192 is relatively brittle (e.g., as compared to the material(s) of the body 164, etc.) and unable to comply over the scope of the whole valve member 142. The body 164 of the valve head 160 supporting the insert 192 enables the valve member 142 to be compliant under the forces of operation while providing the higher- wear area of the strike face 188 with an increased resistance to corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or impact.

Moreover, the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 192 can be more expensive, and thus fabricating the entire valve member 142 or valve head 160 from the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 192 can drive the cost above the current maintenance cost. Accordingly, fabricating only the insert 192 from the higher-strength material reduces the cost of the valve member 142, while also focusing the higher-strength material(s) at an area of the valve head 160 (e.g., the strike face 188, etc.) where additional wear support extends the life of the valve member 142.

The insert 192 is held by the body 164 of the valve head 160 (e.g., within the recess 200, etc.) using any structure, fit, fastener, and/or the like, such as, but not limited to, using a press-fit, a shrink-fit, bonding, sintering, welding, an adhesive, and/or any combination thereof. In some other examples, insert 192 is a coating applied by dipping, spraying, coating, and/or the like. The insert 192 is held by the body 164 of the valve head 160 without being held within a recess of the body 164 in some alternative embodiments.

The insert 192 can be formed of a variety of different shapes, sizes, and/or the like. The size, shape, structure, configuration, arrangement, location, placement, and/or the like of the insert 192 depends on the operational environment. In some examples, the insert 192 is sized, shaped, arranged, located, placed, structured, configured, and/or the like based on areas of the valve member 142 that are subject to the most corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or other wear. Likewise, variances in operational, ambient, environmental temperatures, and/or the like, along with the operational forces applied to and/or otherwise acting on the insert 192 (e.g., the tensile and/or compressive forces, etc.) affects the size, shape placement, location, arrangement, structure, configuration, and/or the like of the insert 192 in some examples.

As briefly described above, the valve head 160 of the valve member 142 includes the seal 166, which sealingly engages the valve seat 140. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the seal 166 is held by the lip 198 of the valve head body 164. Specifically, the lip 198 includes a recess 202 extending therein. The exemplary embodiment of the seal 166 is held within the recess 202 of the lip 198. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the position of the seal 166 along the lip 198 of the valve head body 164 is such that the seal 166 is spaced apart from the insert 192 and the strike face 188. In other embodiments, the seal 166 is positioned along the lip 198 such that the seal 166 not spaced apart from the insert 192 and/or the strike face 188 in an undeformed and/or a deformed state of the seal 166. The recess 202 may be referred to herein as a“lip recess”.

In some examples, the seal 166 is molded in place in the valve head body 164. In other examples, the seal 166 is preformed and thereafter secured to the valve head body 164 such that the seal 166 is held by the body 164. The seal 166 is held by the body 164 of the valve head 160 (e.g., within the recess 202, etc.) using any structure, fit, fastener, and/or the like, such as, but not limited to, using a press-fit, a shrink-fit, bonding, sintering, welding, an adhesive, and/or any combination thereof. In some alternative embodiments, the seal 166 is held by the lip 198 of the valve head body 164 without being held within a recess of the body 164.

The seal 166 includes any material(s) that enable the seal to function as described and/or illustrated herein, such as, but not limited to, an elastomeric material, a deformable thermoplastic material, a urethane material, a fiber-reinforced material, carbon, glass, cotton, wire fibers, cloth, and/or any combination thereof. In some examples, the seal 166 is composed of a cloth, which is disposed in a thermoplastic material. According to some examples, the cloth includes carbon, glass, wire, cotton fibers, and/or any combination thereof. In yet other examples, the seal 166 is composed of at least a fiber-reinforced material, which can prevent or at least reduce delamination. In some examples, the seal 166 has a hardness of 95 A durometer or greater, or a hardness of 69 D durometer or greater based on the Rockwall Hardness scale.

The location of the seal 166 along the lip 198 of the body 164 of the valve head 160 positions the seal 166 in a“protected” area of the valve head 160. For example, the location of the seal 166 along the lip 198 decreases the exposure of the seal 166 to the corrosive and/or abrasive fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126. The reduced exposure of the seal 166 to the fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126 reduces wear of the seal 166 and thereby extends (i.e., increases) the life span of the seal 166. In addition to the location of the seal 166 along the valve head 160, the size, shape, material(s), and/or the like of the seal 166 is selected to reduce the exposure of the seal 166 to the fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126 in some examples.

Referring now to FIG. 4, another embodiment of a valve member 342 for use as a component of the inlet valve assembly 126 is shown. The valve member 342 includes a valve head 360 and a tail segment 362 extending from the valve head 360. The valve head 360 includes a body 364, and insert 392, and a seal 366. The valve head 360 of the valve member 342 includes a strike face 388 that contacts the strike face 190 (shown in FIGS. 3 and 5) of the valve seat 140 (shown in FIGS. 3 and 5) when the valve head 360 is in the closed position of the valve member 342. In some embodiments, the strike face 388 extends at an angle a of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis 152 (shown in FIGS. 3 and 5). For example, the angle a of the strike face 388 is approximately 130° relative to the valve seat axis 152 in the embodiment of the valve member 342 shown in FIG. 4. But, in other embodiments the angle a of the strike face 388 extends at any other angle a of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis 152. Moreover, the strike face 388 extends at an angle a relative to the valve seat axis 152 of less than approximately 125° in other embodiments (e.g., an angle a of approximately 90°, i.e., perpendicular, relative to the valve seat axis 152). The strike face 388 may be referred to herein as a“head strike face”. The insert 392 may be referred to herein as a“head insert”.

In some examples, the angle a of the strike face 388 is selected to provide an extended solid mating surface with the valve seat 140. For example, increasing the angle a of the strike face 388 to approximately 125° or greater increases the surface area of the strike face 388. The increased surface area of the strike face 388 reduces the load on the strike face 388 during operation of the inlet valve assembly 126. The reduced load lowers the effects of impact and abrasion from crushing particulates (e.g., frac media, etc.) and thereby increases the life of the valve member 342.

The exemplary embodiment of the body 364 shown in FIG. 4 includes a stem 394 and a flange 396 that extends radially outward (relative to the valve seat axis 152) from the stem 394 to a lip 398 of the flange 396. The body 364 includes a recess 400 defined between the lip

398 of the flange 396 and the stem 394. The insert 392 is held by the body 364 within the recess 400 of the body 364. The insert 392 may be referred to herein as a“head insert”.

The insert 392 defines at least a portion of the strike face 388 of the valve head 360. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the insert 392 defines an approximate entirety of the strike face 388. But, in other embodiments, the strike face 388 includes a portion of the body 364 (e.g., the lip 398, etc.) such that the strike face 388 is defined partially by the insert 392 and partially by the body 364.

The insert 392 has a material hardness value that is greater than the material hardness value of the body 364 of the valve head 360. Accordingly, the insert 392 has a greater strength as compared to the body 364 of the valve head 360. In some examples, the material hardness value of the insert 392 is between approximately 12 to approximately 22 GPa with reference to the Vickers hardness number.

In some examples, the insert 392 includes one or more of the following materials: a ceramic, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, a tungsten carbide, tungsten carbide cobalt (e.g., tungsten carbide combined with approximately 6-10% cobalt, etc.), tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal. The insert 392 includes a refractory material (e.g., oxides of aluminum, silicon, magnesium, etc.) in some examples. In one specific embodiment, the insert 392 of the valve head 360 is formed from a ceramic material and the body 364 of the valve head is formed from steel (e.g., stainless steel, etc.). Any other materials can be used in other embodiments.

In use, the insert 392 extends the life span of the valve member 342. For example, the higher strength of the insert 392 (e.g., as compared to the body 364, etc.) reduces wear caused by repeated contact with the strike face 190 of the valve seat 140. Moreover, because particulates from the fluid flowing through the reciprocating pump 100 can become trapped between the strike faces 388 and 190 of the valve member 342 and valve seat 140, respectively, the insert 392 reduces and/or otherwise prevents the wear of the valve member 342.

In some examples, the higher-strength insert 392 is relatively brittle (e.g., as compared to the material(s) of the body 164, etc.) and unable to comply over the scope of the whole valve member 342. The body 364 of the valve head 360 supporting the insert 392 enables the valve member 342 to be compliant under the forces of operation while providing the higher-wear area of the strike face 388 with an increased resistance to corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or impact.

Moreover, the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 392 can be more expensive, and thus fabricating the entire valve member 342 or valve head 360 from the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 392 can drive the cost above the current maintenance cost. Accordingly, fabricating only the insert 392 from the higher-strength material reduces the cost of the valve member 342, while also focusing the higher-strength material(s) at an area of the valve head 360 (e.g., the strike face 388, etc.) where additional wear support extends the life of the valve member 342.

The insert 392 is held by the body 364 of the valve head 360 (e.g., within the recess 400, etc.) using any structure, fit, fastener, and/or the like, such as, but not limited to, using a press-fit, a shrink-fit, bonding, sintering, welding, an adhesive, and/or any combination thereof. In some other examples, insert 392 is a coating applied by dipping, spraying, coating, and/or the like. The insert 392 is held by the body 364 of the valve head 360 without being held within a recess of the body 364 in some alternative embodiments.

The insert 392 can be formed of a variety of different shapes, sizes, and/or the like. The size, shape, structure, configuration, arrangement, location, placement, and/or the like of the insert 392 depends on the operational environment. In some examples, the insert 392 is sized, shaped, arranged, located, placed, structured, configured, and/or the like based on areas of the valve member 342 that are subject to the most corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or other wear. Likewise, variances in operational, ambient, environmental temperatures, and/or the like, along with the operational forces applied to and/or otherwise acting on the insert 392 (e.g., the tensile and/or compressive forces, etc.) affects the size, shape placement, location, arrangement, structure, configuration, and/or the like of the insert 392 in some examples.

The valve head 360 includes the seal 366, which sealingly engages the valve seat 140 in the closed position of the valve member 342. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the seal 366 is held by the insert 392 of the valve head 360. Specifically, the insert 392 includes a recess 402 extending therein. The exemplary embodiment of the seal 366 is held within the recess 402 of the insert 392. As can be seen in FIG. 4, the position of the seal 366 on the insert 392 is such that the seal 366 is spaced apart from the lip 398 of the valve head body 360. In other embodiments, the seal 366 is positioned along the insert 392 such that the seal 366 not spaced apart from the lip 398 in an undeformed and/or a deformed state of the seal 166.

In some examples, the seal 366 is molded in place in the insert 392. In other examples, the seal 366 is preformed and thereafter secured to the insert 392 such that the seal 366 is held by the insert 392. The seal 366 is held by the insert 392 of the valve head 160 (e.g., within the recess 402, etc.) using any structure, fit, fastener, and/or the like, such as, but not limited to, using a press-fit, a shrink-fit, bonding, sintering, welding, an adhesive, and/or any combination thereof. In some alternative embodiments, the seal 366 is held by the insert 392 without being held within a recess of the insert 392.

The seal 366 includes any material(s) that enable the seal to function as described and/or illustrated herein, such as, but not limited to, an elastomeric material, a deformable thermoplastic material, a urethane material, a fiber-reinforced material, carbon, glass, cotton, wire fibers, cloth, and/or any combination thereof. In some examples, the seal 366 is composed of a cloth, which is disposed in a thermoplastic material. According to some examples, the cloth includes carbon, glass, wire, cotton fibers, and/or any combination thereof. In yet other examples, the seal 366 is composed of at least a fiber-reinforced material, which can prevent or at least reduce delamination. In some examples, the seal 366 has a hardness of 95 A durometer or greater, or a hardness of 69 D durometer or greater based on the Rockwall Hardness scale.

The location of the seal 366 along the insert 392 of the valve head 360 positions the seal 366 in a“protected” area of the valve head 360. For example, the location of the seal 366 along the insert 392 decreases the exposure of the seal 366 to the corrosive and/or abrasive fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126. The reduced exposure of the seal 366 to the fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126 reduces wear of the seal 366 and thereby extends (i.e., increases) the life span of the seal 366. In addition to the location of the seal 366 along the valve head 360, the size, shape, material(s), and/or the like of the seal 366 is selected to reduce the exposure of the seal 366 to the fluid flowing through the inlet valve assembly 126 in some examples.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 5, the valve seat 140 includes the strike face 190 that contacts the strike face 188 (not shown in FIG. 5) of the valve member 142 (not shown in FIG. 5) or the strike face 388 (shown in FIG. 4) of the valve member 342 (shown in FIG. 4) when the valve member 142 or 342 is in the closed position. In some embodiments, the strike face 190 extends at an angle ai of less than approximately 56° relative to the valve seat axis 152. For example, the angle ai of the strike face 190 is approximately 50° relative to the valve seat axis 152 in the embodiment of the valve seat 140 shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. But, in other embodiments the angle ai of the strike face 190 extends at any other angle ai of less than approximately 56° relative to the valve seat axis 152. Moreover, the strike face 190 extends at an angle ai relative to the valve seat axis 152 of greater than approximately 56° in other embodiments (e.g., an angle ai of approximately 90°, i.e., perpendicular, relative to the valve seat axis 152).

In some examples, the angle on of the strike face 190 is selected to provide an extended solid mating surface with the valve member 142 or 342. For example, decreasing the angle on of the strike face 190 to approximately 56° or less increases the surface area of the strike face 190. The increased surface area of the strike face 190 reduces the load on the strike face 190 during operation of the inlet valve assembly 126. The reduced load lowers the effects of impact and abrasion from crushing particulates (e.g., frac media, etc.) and thereby increases the life of the valve seat 140.

In some embodiments, the valve seat 140 includes an insert 492 held by the body 144 of the valve seat 140. More particularly, the exemplary embodiment of the body 144 includes a shoulder 494 having a recess 500 defined therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, the insert 492 is held by the body 144 within the recess 500 of the body 144. The insert 492 may be referred to herein as a“seat insert”.

The insert 492 defines at least a portion of the strike face 190 of the valve seat 140. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, the insert 492 defines an approximate entirety of the strike face 190. In other words, the strike face 190 does not include any portion of the body 144 such that the strike face 190 is defined entirely by the insert 492. But, in other embodiments, the strike face 190 includes a portion of the body 144 (e.g., a flange 498, etc.) such that the strike face 190 is defined partially by the insert 492 and partially by the body 464.

The insert 492 has a material hardness value that is greater than the material hardness value of the body 144 of the valve seat 140. Accordingly, the insert 492 has a greater strength as compared to the body 144 of the valve seat 140. In some examples, the material hardness value of the insert 492 is between approximately 12 to approximately 22 GPa with reference to the Vickers hardness number.

In some examples, the insert 492 includes one or more of the following materials: a ceramic, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, a tungsten carbide, tungsten carbide cobalt (e.g., tungsten carbide combined with approximately 6-10% cobalt, etc.), tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal. The insert 492 includes a refractory material (e.g., oxides of aluminum, silicon, magnesium, etc.) in some examples. In one specific embodiment, the insert 492 of the valve seat 140 is formed from a ceramic material and the body 144 of the valve seat 140 is formed from steel (e.g., stainless steel, etc.). Any other materials can be used in other embodiments.

In use, the insert 492 extends the life span of the valve seat 140. For example, the higher strength of the insert 492 (e.g., as compared to the body 144, etc.) reduces wear caused by repeated contact with the strike faces 188 and 388 of the valve members 142 and 342, respectively. Moreover, because particulates from the fluid flowing through the reciprocating pump 100 can become trapped between the strike faces, the insert 492 reduces and/or otherwise prevents the wear of the valve seat 140.

In some examples, the higher-strength insert 492 is relatively brittle (e.g., as compared to the material(s) of the body 144, etc.) and unable to comply over the scope of the whole seat 140. The body 144 of the valve seat 140 supporting the insert 492 enables the valve seat 140 to be compliant under the forces of operation while providing the higher-wear area of the strike face 190 with an increased resistance to corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or impact.

Moreover, the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 492 can be more expensive, and thus fabricating the entire valve seat 140 from the higher-strength material(s) of the insert 492 can drive the cost above the current maintenance cost. Accordingly, fabricating only the insert 492 from the higher-strength material reduces the cost of the valve seat 140, while also focusing the higher-strength material (s) at an area of the valve seat 140 (e.g., the strike face 190, etc.) where additional wear support extends the life of the valve seat 140.

The insert 492 is held by the body 144 of the valve seat 140 (e.g., within the recess 500, etc.) using any structure, fit, fastener, and/or the like, such as, but not limited to, using a press- fit, a shrink-fit, bonding, sintering, welding, an adhesive, and/or any combination thereof. In some other examples, insert 492 is a coating applied by dipping, spraying, coating, and/or the like. The insert 492 is held by the body 144 of the valve seat 140 without being held within a recess of the body 144 in some alternative embodiments.

The insert 492 can be formed of a variety of different shapes, sizes, and/or the like. The size, shape, structure, configuration, arrangement, location, placement, and/or the like of the insert 492 depends on the operational environment. In some examples, the insert 492 is sized, shaped, arranged, located, placed, structured, configured, and/or the like based on areas of the valve seat 140 that are subject to the most corrosion, erosion, pitting, and/or other wear. Likewise, variances in operational, ambient, environmental temperatures, and/or the like, along with the operational forces applied to and/or otherwise acting on the insert 492 (e.g., the tensile and/or compressive forces, etc.) affects the size, shape placement, location, arrangement, structure, configuration, and/or the like of the insert 492 in some examples.

As shown in Detail A of FIG. 5, in the exemplary embodiment of the valve seat 140, the body 144 of the valve seat 140 includes an optional shoulder 404 that extends into the outer surface 148 of the body 144. In some embodiments, the shoulder 404 is configured to engage a shoulder (not shown) of the inner surface 148 of the wall 154 of the inlet passage 120 (e.g., the geometry of the shoulder 404 is complementary with the geometry of the shoulder of the inlet passage 120, etc.). The shoulder 404 is defined by a recess 406 that extends into the outer surface 148. The recess 406 includes a curved bottom 408 and linear segments 410 and 412 that extend from opposite end extensions 414 and 416, respectively, of the curved bottom 408. As can be seen in Detail A, the curved bottom 408 has a radius R (e.g., between approximately 0.03 inches and approximately 0.10 inches, between approximately 0.04 inches and 0.08 inches, approximately 0.06 inches, etc.). Moreover, the linear segment 410 extends at an angle (X2 (e.g., between approximately 10° and approximately 20°, between approximately 13° and approximately 17°, approximately 15°, etc.) relative to the end extension 414 of the curved bottom 408. The linear segment 410 extends at an angle a 3 (e.g., between approximately 70° and approximately 80°, between approximately 72° and approximately 78°, approximately 75°, etc.) relative to the end extension 416 of the curved bottom 408.

In the exemplary embodiments illustrated herein, the outlet valve assembly 128 is substantially similar to the inlet valve assembly 126 and therefore will not be described in further detail. Although shown and described herein with respect to inlet valve assemblies, the insert, seal, and strike face embodiments described and/or illustrated herein are not limited thereto, but rather may be used with any valve assembly. For example, the insert, seal, and strike face embodiments described and/or illustrated herein may be used with the outlet valve assembly 128 (shown in FIG. 2). In other words, any of the valve members, valve seats, and valve assemblies shown and/or described herein may be used as either the inlet valve assembly 126 or outlet valve assembly 128. For example, the valve assembly 126 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 may be positioned in the fluid end section as either the input valve assembly 126 or the outlet valve assembly 128. Thus, the various valve assemblies in this disclosure and the accompanying drawings, as well as any combination thereof, may be used as the inlet valve assembly 126 and outlet valve assembly 128.

Moreover, in some examples, each of the valve member 142, the valve member 342, and the valve seat 140 may selectively include the respective insert 192, 392, and 492, the strike face angle, and the respective seal 166 and 366. In other words, each of the valve member 142, the valve member 342, and the valve seat 140 may include only one or some of the respective insert 192, 392, and 492, the strike face angle, and the respective seal 166 and 266, in some examples. For example, the valve member 142 or 342 may be used with a valve seat that does not include the insert 492, and the valve seat 140 may be paired with a valve member that does not include the seal 166 or 366 and/or does not include the insert 192 or 392.

The following clauses describe further aspects of the disclosure:

Clause Set A:

Al . A valve member for a reciprocating pump, the valve member comprising:

a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position, the valve head comprising:

a body;

an insert held by the body, the insert defining at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position; and

a seal held by the insert, the seal being configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

A2. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the insert comprises a recess, the seal being held within the recess of the insert.

A3. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the body of the valve head comprises a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem, the insert being held within the recess.

A4. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the body of the valve head comprises a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem, the insert being held within the recess, wherein the seal is held by the insert such that the seal is spaced apart from the lip.

A5. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

A6. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the insert comprises at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal.

A7. The valve member of clause Al, wherein the body comprises steel.

A8. The valve member of clause Al, further comprising a tail segment extending from the valve head, the tail segment being configured to be received within the valve seat.

Clause Set B:

Bl . A valve member for a reciprocating pump, the valve member comprising:

a valve head configured to move relative to a valve seat of the reciprocating pump between an open position and a closed position, the valve head comprising:

a body comprising a stem and a flange that extends radially outward from the stem to a lip of the flange, the body comprising a recess defined between the lip and the stem;

an insert held within the recess of the body, the insert defining at least a portion of a strike face of the valve head that is configured to contact the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position; and a seal held by the lip of the flange, the seal being configured to sealingly engage the valve seat when the valve head is in the closed position.

B2. The valve member of claim Bl, wherein the recess is a body recess and the lip is a lip recess, the seal being held within the lip recess.

B3. The valve member of clause Bl, wherein the seal is held by the lip such that the seal is spaced apart from the insert.

B4. The valve member of clause Bl, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

B5. The valve member of clause Bl, wherein the insert comprises at least one of a ceramic, tungsten carbide, tungsten cobalt, tungsten nickel, tungsten carbide cobalt, tungsten carbide nickel, zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, sialon, a self-healing ceramic, or a self-healing metal.

B6. The valve member of clause Bl, further comprising a tail segment extending from the stem of the body of the valve head, the tail segment being configured to be received within the valve seat.

Clause Set C:

Cl. A valve assembly for a reciprocating pump, the valve assembly comprising: a valve seat extending along a valve seat axis; and

a valve member configured to move relative to the valve seat along the valve seat axis between an open position and a closed position, the valve member comprising a valve head that includes a strike face that is configured to contact the valve seat in the closed position, the valve head comprising an insert that defines at least a portion of the strike face, wherein the strike face extends at an angle of at least approximately 125° relative to the valve seat axis.

C2. The valve assembly of clause Cl, wherein the strike face of the valve head extends at an angle of approximately 130° relative to the valve seat axis. C3. The valve assembly of clause Cl, wherein the valve head comprises a body, the insert of the valve head being held by the body, wherein the insert has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

C4. The valve assembly of clause Cl, wherein the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, wherein the seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of less than approximately 56° relative to the valve seat axis.

C5. The valve assembly of clause Cl, wherein the strike face of the valve head is a head strike face, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, wherein the seat strike face of the valve seat extends at an angle of approximately 50° relative to the valve seat axis.

C6. The valve assembly of clause Cl, wherein the strike face is a head strike face and the insert is a head insert, the valve seat comprising a seat strike face configured to contact the head strike face of the valve head when the valve member is in the closed position, the valve seat comprising a body and a seat insert held by the body, wherein the seat insert defines at least a portion of the seat strike face and has a material hardness value that is greater than a material hardness value of the body.

It is to be understood that the above description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. For example, the above-described embodiments (and/or aspects thereof) may be used in combination with each other. Furthermore, invention(s) have been described in connection with what are presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the invention(s). Further, each independent feature or component of any given assembly may constitute an additional embodiment. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from its scope. Dimensions, types of materials, orientations of the various components, and the number and positions of the various components described herein are intended to define parameters of certain embodiments, and are by no means limiting and are merely exemplary embodiments. Many other embodiments and modifications within the spirit and scope of the claims will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. The scope of the disclosure should, therefore, be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.

In the foregoing description of certain embodiments, specific terminology has been resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, the disclosure is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes other technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar technical purpose. Terms such as“clockwise” and“counterclockwise”,“left” and right”,“front” and “rear”,“above” and“below” and the like are used as words of convenience to provide reference points and are not to be construed as limiting terms.

When introducing elements of aspects of the disclosure or the examples thereof, the articles "a," "an," "the," and "said" are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements. The terms "comprising," "including," and "having" are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements other than the listed elements. For example, in this specification, the word“comprising” is to be understood in its“open” sense, that is, in the sense of“including”, and thus not limited to its“closed” sense, that is the sense of“consisting only of’. A corresponding meaning is to be attributed to the corresponding words“comprise”, “comprised”,“comprises”,“having”,“has”,“in cludes”, and“including” where they appear. The term“exemplary” is intended to mean“an example of.” The phrase“one or more of the following: A, B, and C” means“at least one of A and/or at least one of B and/or at least one of C." Moreover, in the following claims, the terms "first," "second," and "third," etc. are used merely as labels, and are not intended to impose numerical requirements on their objects. Further, the limitations of the following claims are not written in means-plus-function format and are not intended to be interpreted based on 35 U.S.C. § 112(f), unless and until such claim limitations expressly use the phrase“means for” followed by a statement of function void of further structure.

Although the terms“step” and/or“block” may be used herein to connote different elements of methods employed, the terms should not be interpreted as implying any particular order among or between various steps herein disclosed unless and except when the order of individual steps is explicitly described. The order of execution or performance of the operations in examples of the disclosure illustrated and described herein is not essential, unless otherwise specified. The operations may be performed in any order, unless otherwise specified, and examples of the disclosure may include additional or fewer operations than those disclosed herein. It is therefore contemplated that executing or performing a particular operation before, contemporaneously with, or after another operation is within the scope of aspects of the disclosure.

Having described aspects of the disclosure in detail, it will be apparent that modifications and variations are possible without departing from the scope of aspects of the disclosure as defined in the appended claims. As various changes could be made in the above constructions, products, and methods without departing from the scope of aspects of the disclosure, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.