A modeling approach to study the Fluid-Dynamic forces acting on the spool of a flow control valve

Emma Frosina, Adolfo Senatore, Dario Buono, Kim A. Stelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4034418
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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